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  1. Obliterator918's Avatar
    Is there any official word on plans to make Microsoft Family Safety actually useful for parents?

    I received my Lumia 950XL and 950, and was hoping that the 950 would make a good gift for my teenager, who currently has a feature phone.

    As an experiment, I set up a new child account, added it to my family, restricted it (block inappropriate web sites and apps), and then set up the 950 with the child account. The phone warned me that it was being monitored by family safety and usage reports would be sent (good).

    Experimented with the browser. Inappropriate sites were blocked and safesearch was enforced. Good.

    Went to the app store and spent all of 10 seconds finding an "incognito browser" -- installed it and had no restrictions to browsing whatsoever.

    Now, here are the biggest problems:

    1. There is no way to disable downloading apps. So, while web blocking works with Edge, it doesn't matter because there are a dozen private browsers you can download.

    2. Although the family safety website says that I will receive usage reports, it has been 12 hours and there is nothing listed of either the apps I used or sites I visited or searches I did while I was experimenting.

    3. The only way to control apps is (supposedly) to block downloaded ones. Well, this doesn't work since the reporting is not working, and even if it was, it ends up being a game of whack-a-mole just blocking the latest app. Of course one would expect their child not to do this (or to lose the phone if they did), but the point is that blocking web browsing proactively can't work with this system. Period.

    As it stands, Family Safety is a nearly useless feature -- especially on Mobile. Has Microsoft made any official comment on this?

    Seriously -- how hard could it possibly be to simply lock out store app downloads? (Not hard -- they already have the infrastructure in place to handle purchasing!)
    05-02-2016 07:44 AM
  2. OldMillXxX's Avatar
    Feel your pain. Always "on its way with MS" while we get older, and our kids grow up and we deal with it anyway. Need it NOW doesn't work with them.

    Getting pretty tired of this. For them it's great! Job security to keep using the excuse of "Coming Soon". They always have something to work on and keep everyone just interested enough to hang around. Not sure how much longer I can hang on...
    05-03-2016 10:14 AM
  3. xandros9's Avatar
    1. I remember when I first got a Windows Phone in 2013, I was technically underage and automatically barred from app downloads, I'm surprised that feature isn't there/is hard to find.

    Then again, features have been going away on, some being added on the OS itself so...

    2. I have zero experience or knowledge of that feature so I can't help unfortunately.

    3. And honestly, being a kid not too long ago, I would think the controls a bit excessive. An open dialogue on things and reserving the right to inspect, etc. would probably also work well.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't know you or your kid nor am I telling you how to parent; I'm just wary of immediately throwing up restrictions like that. They're their own person, albeit inexperienced and under your care. I know challenged with such a hurdle, I'd find a way, no matter the cost - especially with such a capable device.

    (but then again, I was a serious tech dork for as long as I can remember)

    and on another note, a Lumia 640 might be a better option for a starter smartphone since if you're worried about inappropriate content, I'd also be worried about damage by a gravitational accident.

    While I generally take good care of my gear, my 640 still took an unfortunate tumble a few weeks ago breaking the glass, and for a $30 phone (and a new screen worth $25) it was a lot easier to stomach than something worth easily 10x that.

    Sorry I couldn't tackle your problem head on though.
    Last edited by xandros9; 05-04-2016 at 11:58 PM.
    05-04-2016 11:48 PM
  4. Obliterator918's Avatar
    How people decide to protect their children from the predators and depravity of the darkest places on the Internet is up to them. I would like my child to be able to use a nice phone for texting friends, taking pictures, calendar, etc – I am not interested in handing him an unfiltered and unmonitored portal to the entire Internet. I think that would be irresponsible.

    Regardless, I did not mean to start a thread about parenting choices. There is a real issue here where Microsoft is creating an illusion of “family safety” but has removed so many features that used to exist (for example, allow-list-only) that the service is completely useless in reality.
    05-05-2016 08:35 AM
  5. Lagur's Avatar
    Is there any official word on plans to make Microsoft Family Safety actually useful for parents?

    I received my Lumia 950XL and 950, and was hoping that the 950 would make a good gift for my teenager, who currently has a feature phone.

    As an experiment, I set up a new child account, added it to my family, restricted it (block inappropriate web sites and apps), and then set up the 950 with the child account. The phone warned me that it was being monitored by family safety and usage reports would be sent (good).

    Experimented with the browser. Inappropriate sites were blocked and safesearch was enforced. Good.

    Went to the app store and spent all of 10 seconds finding an "incognito browser" -- installed it and had no restrictions to browsing whatsoever.

    Now, here are the biggest problems:

    1. There is no way to disable downloading apps. So, while web blocking works with Edge, it doesn't matter because there are a dozen private browsers you can download.

    2. Although the family safety website says that I will receive usage reports, it has been 12 hours and there is nothing listed of either the apps I used or sites I visited or searches I did while I was experimenting.

    3. The only way to control apps is (supposedly) to block downloaded ones. Well, this doesn't work since the reporting is not working, and even if it was, it ends up being a game of whack-a-mole just blocking the latest app. Of course one would expect their child not to do this (or to lose the phone if they did), but the point is that blocking web browsing proactively can't work with this system. Period.

    As it stands, Family Safety is a nearly useless feature -- especially on Mobile. Has Microsoft made any official comment on this?

    Seriously -- how hard could it possibly be to simply lock out store app downloads? (Not hard -- they already have the infrastructure in place to handle purchasing!)
    Me and my wife been using family safety feature since win8.1 but with our daughter's laptop and so far it's been really helpful. We've been patiently waiting for this feature to come in Win10M as well.

    Just to comment your concern:

    #1 - Probably no way to disable downloading of apps, but at least you can actually block any app in Recent used.

    #2 - We are receiving weekly reports and not sure if there is a way to control this. Actually we started using this feature without bothering when we want to receive reports :)

    #3 - At least we can control the age settings for appropriate downloads, not sure why reporting doesn't work for you. See #2.

    Though we always welcome additional parental controls but blocking app downloads don't really make sense to us, as #3 works just fine. MS can't really please anyone but this feature really works for me and my wife so absolutely not a useless feature in my opinion.

    Hope this helps.
    xandros9 likes this.
    05-06-2016 05:17 AM

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