Windows 7 Parental Controls: How to Limit the Hours During Which Your Child Can Use the Computer

parental controls

With the continuing proliferation of computers into our daily lives it isn’t uncommon for children to have their own computers. Sometimes, children even have a computer in their room, or perhaps a portable one for use around the house. You may have a desire to make sure that your child isn’t using the computer at certain hours of the day, such as when they are supposed to be in bed, or when they are supposed to be doing their homework.

For this, don’t waste your money on any commercial parental control software, Windows 7 comes with useful parental controls built right in. In this article, we’ll show you how to restrict specific hours of use on your child’s computer. This solution also works for preventing children from using a family computer during certain hours by applying restrictions to specific accounts.

In order to set up such controls, you need to be on an administrator account (the default account should be administrator to begin with).

1. Create a Unique Account for Your Child

The first thing you need to do is create a user account for your child to use, upon which the restrictions will be placed.

  1. To create a new account, click the Start button, and type User Accounts in the search box. Click the User Accounts result that pops up in the list.

  2. 1 - start menu user accounts

  3. Click Manage Another Account.
  4. 2 - user accounts - manager another account

  5. Click Create A New Account.

  6. 3 - manage accounts - create new account

  7. Give your child’s account a name, and make sure that it is set to Standard User, then click Create Account.
  8. 4 - create new account - standard user

2. Configure the Account in the Parental Controls Window

Now we’re going to set the hours that your child can use the computer. Close all the windows from the previous step before proceeding.

  1. Press the Start button and type Parental Controls. Select the Parental Controls option that pops up in the list.

  2. 5 - start menu - parental controls

  3. Select your child’s account in the Users list.
  4. 6 - parental controls - select child acount

  5. Select the On, Enforce Current Settings radio button, then click on Time Limits under Windows Settings
  6. 7 - user controls - turn on enforce settings, set time limits

  7. Now you’ll be presented with a grid representing the hours that your child can and cannot use the computer. Use the mouse to place blue blocks to decide when your child cannot use the computer. In this example, I’ll block out the hours when I expect my child to be sleeping, and 2 hours in the evening when they should be doing homework. On the weekends, they don’t have the 2 hours blocked out for homework, and they can stay up an hour later. Click and drag with the mouse to block out large areas at once. Click OK once you are finished created the desired schedule.
  8. 8 - time restrictions, then click on

  9. Click OK once more on the following window and your all done.

Now your child won’t be able to use the computer during the specific hours that you specified.

3. Password Protect Your Account so Your Child Can’t Circumvent Your Restrictions

If your default account isn’t password protected, there’s nothing preventing your child from logging on to it and bypassing your restrictions. Follow these steps to password protect your account. First, ensure that you are on your account and not your child’s.

  1. Press the Start button and type User Account, select User Accounts from the list of results.
  2. 1 - start menu user accounts

  3. Click Create a Password for Your Account.
  4. 1.2 - create a password for your account

  5. Enter a password in the first field, then confirm the password in the second field. You may also want to add a password hint if you are prone to forgetting passwords. Click Create Password when you are finished.
  6. 1.3 create password

Now you’ll have to enter your password when you login to your account, which forces your child to use their account, and doesn’t allow them to circumvent your time restrictions.

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