CE + Microsoft Family Safety = better protection for your family (and you!)

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  • Updated 4 years ago
Ever since I got a new Microsoft Surface Pro 4 for work (a month ago), I've been tinkering with the best way to combine the benefits of Covenant Eyes accountability software with some of the new (and very helpful) features on the Windows 10 version of Microsoft Family Safety.

To use MS Family Safety, you set up a "parent account" and then link any "child account" to that "parent account". It could really be a parent, or it could simply be an accountability partner/ spouse, whatever works for you. Any linked "child account" in MS Family Safety is governed by the limits set up by the "parent account".

I need Cov. Eyes along with MS Family Safety because the MS Family Safety filter is definitely inferior to the CE filter. But MS Family Safety has a number of features that CE does not have. The most helpful to me are: app/program blocking, and "screen time" limits.

APP/PROGRAM BLOCKING IN MS FAMILY SAFETY
Family Safety works well with Bing Search on Internet Explorer, MS Edge (new MS browser), and Firefox. A Family Safety "child account" cannot change the settings for Bing Search. They are permanently in StrictSafeSearch. In CE, I've blocked all Google websites and yahoo, plus some other search engines. I only use Bing, and now that my accountability partner has the MS "parent account" log-in (he's also my CE filter guarding), I cannot change these settings. Even if I download Google Chrome, my accountability partner (with the MS Family Account) can see that I've downloaded another browser, and can simply click "BLOCK", and then I am unable to use that program. Same with any app / game from the Windows App store. He just clicks "BLOCK" in his "parent account" and I can no longer use that app.

SCREEN TIME
This MS Family Safety feature allows you the "parent account" to set limits on when the "child account" can use Windows 10 devices (including Windows smartphones, tablets, and PCs). My accountability partner and I have my "child account" set up so that I cannot use my MS Surface Pro 4 after midnight. And when I say I cannot use it -- I mean it completely locks down at midnight. Not just the browser or internet connection... everything is locked down. This works well for me, but it might not be helpful for others.

Remember...
To use this effectively, the "child account" should only have access to three browsers: MS Edge, Internet Explorer, and Firefox. Other browsers are not compatible with MS FAMILY SAFETY settings. Also, the "child account" should only have access to BING search (Google and Yahoo should be blocked).

For more info, see:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/set-up-family#set-up-family=windows-10
https://account.microsoft.com/family/faq/
https://blog.mozilla.org/netpolicy/2014/07/22/prefersafe-making-online-safety-simpler-in-firefox/

Hope this information is helpful to other CE users.
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Matthew

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  • greatful

Posted 4 years ago

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Patrick Smith, Alum

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Thanks for the ideas, Matthew!
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Matthew

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Update... (please read the original post first)
As of July 2016, Microsoft Family Safety now enforces safe search not only on Bing, but also on Google and Yahoo search sites. But this enforced safe search ONLY works on the Edge Browser (new MS browser for Windows 10) or Internet Explorer.
Enforced safe search continues to work for Bing on the Firefox browser, but not for Google or Yahoo.