How to prevent your child from accessing the Internet on Windows

Use Pluckeye

For clarity, I'll show how I (Jon) would set up a Windows computer to allow all Internet access for myself while allowing no Internet access for my son, Sam.

  1. First, I create a local account (not a Microsoft account) on the computer for my child (sam).
  2. Second, while logged in as myself (jon), I install Pluckeye.
  3. Third, I run the following commands in a console window.
    pluck + system
    pluck + allow user jon
    pluck + block user sam
    

Each of these steps should be illustrated with screenshots in the "step by step" section below.

Why not use Microsoft Family Safety?

Windows 8.1

The problem with with Microsoft Family Safety is that it can not actually prevent the child from using the Internet. Even with the maximum security settings, which imply the child won't have Internet access, if you sign on as the child, you'll notice that in Google Chrome, https://google.com/ and https://youtube.com/ load just fine. That the Microsoft Family interface implies you can limit your child's access to a number of sites you select when the most popular browser in the world doesn't do anything about the domains owned by same said company might surprise some parents. It surprised me. Actually, it made me angry. So I created this page to show parents who, like me, have a 5 year old who wants to use Microsoft Paint, but who do not want their child to access the Internet at all.

Windows 10

On Windows 10, the only way I've found to enforce parental controls using Microsoft software is to use up "online accounts" (aka Microsoft accounts), which require giving names for yourself and your child as well as your dates of birth to Microsoft. It takes about 30 minutes to set up. It also requires giving your child an email account. That is something I'd rather not do. It also appears to require that your child uses Microsoft Edge, as opposed to Chrome, Firefox, and the like. In a simple test of only allowing a child to see pbs.org, Microsoft Edge refused to load the page. Microsoft Internet Explorer loaded the page, but then the tab immediately crashed. And, as seems to be par for the course, https://www.microsoft.com/ was not blocked in either Microsoft product even though I requested only pbs.org be accessible. Fortunately, https://www.microsoft.com/ has a lot less concerning content compared to https://www.google.com/.

Step by step

1. Creating an account for the child.

First, hit the Windows Key and type "users".

Do not create a Microsoft account. Create a local account.

3. Open a console window.

pluck + system
pluck + allow user jon
pluck + block user sam

Another Way

Of course, the simplest way to keep your child from accessing the Internet while at home is to simply not allow your child to use a desktop, latptop, tablet, or smart phone. This strategy has worked well for us for our child's first 5 years of life.