Imagine my surprise to find that my 4 year old was bypassing the games bookmarks on the toolbar I'd set up just for her and going straight to Google to find her own instead! Who knew the girl could spell??? I knew she could read her name and our names, but G-A-M-E-S???
Shortly after this incident, malware was detected no our computer. Even though I can't tell who's responsible for downloading it, I decided to find a way to keep the children from unintentionally downloading anything. An online search led me to Family Safety Filter by Microsoft Windows. The program is FREE and sets up safeguards to keep children from viewing unsuitable content and your computer from being damaged by innocent or intentional downloads.
"Parents can approve or block websites and contacts, set time limits, choose game and program restrictions and get online activity reports on the Family Safety website."
Microsoft provides instructions and more information at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/set-up-family-safety#set-up-family-safety=windows-7, but the basic directions are:
1. Download Family safety from the Windows website.
2. Set up a Microsoft account as the monitoring parent.
3. Find the program in your Programs list, open it and sign in.
4. (This is where the tutorial sort of abandoned me, and I only vaguely remember how I muddled through, but I'll try to walk you through) I believe you have to add each child as a standard user to your computer (Control Panel>Users...) before the filter can add it. It sort of "finds" the users you already have set up on your computer and then lets you choose from the list. In our house, we only need one account that all of the children can use. It doesn't need a password and the settings I applied are good for all three of my babies. Make sure the box is checked to indicate it's being monitored.
If your children know YOUR password, you need to change it and guard it close to your heart and away from your children. While you're there, make sure you have your Guest user turned OFF.
5. Click on the link for setting up at familysafety.microsoft.com. and select the account you want to monitor
6. Set up all your preferences! The most important setting in our case was the box for "Block file downloads from the web" under "Web Filtering." But you can also limit their time on the web, set up curfew times, limit gaming ratings, and more.
We've been using the program for a couple of months, and I'm really happy with the results. By the way, I'm not affiliated in any way with Microsoft Windows. I just wanted to let my readers know that this seems to be a great answer to a concern that many parents have.