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How to block your child's access to social networking and chat websites on Windows

As useful as the internet might be, its creation has also brought about one of the biggest distractions and forms of escapism known to mankind. And if even grownups spend countless hours at work surfing around on websites like Facebook and Twitter, how can you expect a child who has been brought up with the internet to be capable of resisting such temptations?

Indeed with the Internet being well on its way towards replacing the Library as the primary resource of research material for school projects it is nearly impossible to simply "deny" a child's access to a computer. After all, this might put them at a disadvantage.

So what is a parent to do? Well, for starters you can limit your child's access to chat rooms, games and social networking sites. These are most likely the places that are burning up most of their time. Time that quite often would be more wisely spent on homework, or other activities.

Here then is a step by step guide on how to restrict your kid's access to websites such as Facebook, myspace, etc on Windows.

Step 1: Reaching the Parental Controls Panel

To set limitations on your child's user account you will need to be logged in as Admin. Most users are logged in as the computers admin to begin with. If this is however not the case, and your computer has multiple users, you will have to log out first and re-enter into the admin account.

To set website restrictions you will first need to access the parental control centre on your computer. To do this you will first need to press the Start button in the bottom left corner of your screen, then when the menu comes up click on Control Panel.

Once you are in the Control Panel you will be confronted with numerous icons. The icon that you are after is Parental Controls. Open up the Parental Controls area by clicking on the icon. If Windows asks you for your permission to access this area click on continue.

Step 2: Choosing the correct user

If your computer currently only has one user account you will have to create a new account for your child. To do this simply click on the option create a new user account and follow the instructions. Once created you can select your child's account and enter into his settings area.

Note: Once you have created a separate account for your child you will need to change the password to your Admin account. Otherwise you will be giving your child the opportunity to log into your Admin account and undo the site restrictions that we are about to set. Remember, kids are smart!

Step 3: Blocking your kid's access to specific websites

Once you are in the user controls area you have a number of interesting controls that you can configure including the Window Web Filter, Time Limits, Games and the control to block or allow specific programs. The item in this list that we are most interested in is of course the Window Web Filter.

Once you are inside the Window Web Filter you will want to click on Edit the allow and block list to allow and block specific webpages.

Here then we have reached our target destinations where your kid's major distractions can be listed one by one and set off limits. A bit of research into your child's web behaviour may be needed. This can consist of the odd glance over the shoulder, or the more professional browser history approach. That is if your child has indeed left a trail.

Step 4: Sit back and watch your child's grades go up

If only it were that simply. Still, now all you have to worry about is your kids dodgy friend circle, drugs, and of course celebrity role models!

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