Amazon recently had a sale on the Lumia 520 “GoPhone” from AT&T. It was down to only $40 out the door, and I also had $10 in Amazon gift card credit in my account. So why not. Free shipping, to my door, and I have a new test device for my Windows Phone app development.
One thing I also wanted to see with this phone, though, was just what Microsoft’s Family Safety brings to the table on the WP platform. I have been using FS on my kids’ desktop and tablet accounts for years, but hadn’t yet checked out what MS offers on WP. Let’s dive in.
I first noticed this possibility when looking at my windowsphone.com account and hovering over my profile in the upper right. “My Family? What’s this do?” I wondered. For the longest time I was the only one in my house who owned a Windows Phone, then my wife got one but of course she doesn’t need/want any controls/lockdown being done on hers. So this 520 was the perfect chance to experiment.
When booting the 520 from scratch, I first had to put in the Microsoft Account ID (e-mail address) of one of my sons – in this case Corbin, my oldest.
After doing this setup on the phone goes exactly like every other time you’ve set one up, but now:
After doing this his “tile” on the Family Safety page turns to:
Of course, let’s View settings
The game rating filter for WP comes from my overall FamilySafety settings which I have set for games for Corbin. Looks like w/ WP the only options we get are to enable/disable buying games, getting only free ones, or not allowing any at all. What does a denial look like?
How about Cortana?
I went to Windowsphone.com in hopes that I’d be able to find apps and install them to the phone via the site as a way of “pushing” only the apps I want my kids to have on to their devices, should I choose “don’t allow” in the options above. Unfortunately there was no such possibility. So this doesn’t really serve as a “poor man’s MDM solution” a la enterprise. But nonetheless it is pretty nice to have. You can configure some additional settings through the family safety website:
If you haven’t used Microsoft’s Family Safety tools, I highly suggest looking in to them for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users, and now of course Windows Phone users. They’re free and might very well fit the bill you’re looking for when wanting to monitor/safeguard your kids’ online and computer access!