|MSN 8, which launches October 24 in the United States, offers parents the opportunity to block gambling sites on their computers. The newest version of MSN also allows parents to monitor their children's online activity. It also allows parents to control whom children interact with via e-mail and instant messaging. In addition, MSN 8 helps protect the family PC with e-mail virus protection.|
A recent survey found that two-thirds of families don't have filtering or blocking software. To help rectify this, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) NCMEC recommends the enhanced online safety tools from MSN 8 as an important instrument for parents to help protect their kids online.
'The comprehensive parental controls offered with MSN 8 demonstrate Microsoft's commitment to offering flexible safety tools -- ones that allow parents to help create a safe, customized Web experience that is tailored to each child's age, maturity and interests,' said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC. 'The MSN 8 parental controls… will help create a safe environment for families to take advantage of all the good things the Internet has to offer.'
'In the past most solutions have been hard to implement and ineffective,' said Robin Raskin, author and expert on family computing and well-known Internet Mom. 'The new parental controls from MSN provide families with the tools necessary to help create a safe online environment for kids, whether they're using e-mail, instant messaging or browsing the Web. Parents will appreciate the flexibility of MSN 8 parental controls to help keep kids safe while they are having fun on the Internet.'
Microsoft conducted thousands of hours of research, even sending researchers into the homes of consumers to study their online habits and preferences, to develop the parental controls and other family-friendly features of MSN 8. This study and the resulting software development enabled Microsoft to add a level of content control and flexibility that rivals other Internet service providers and browsers today.
The specific online safety features offered by MSN 8 include the following:
-- Flexible filtering. Parents can select from age-specific settings that block inappropriate Web sites for kids in three age groups. They can also create customized settings to block specific Web sites, pages within Web sites or categories of sites, such as those for gambling or arts and entertainment.
-- Communications controls. A child's access can be allowed, blocked or limited to sending and receiving messages when using MSN Mail and MSN Messenger, to and from those who appear in a parent-approved contact list.
-- Kids Request Line. Kids can request, via e-mail, permission from their parents to access Web pages, e-mail addresses or MSN Messenger accounts they don't already have permission to use. Parents can approve or deny the requests or set up new restrictions.
-- Download controls. Parents can prohibit Internet downloads.
-- Kids Search. When searching the Web, kids receive age-appropriate selections drawn from more than 60,000 prescreened sites -- more than double the number of prescreened sites offered by other ISPs today.
-- Kids Home Pages. MSN 8 offers two home pages, one for younger kids and one for older kids and younger teens, that serve as a launching point onto the Internet. The sites offer age-specific games, music and songs, and other activities, including content from Disney Online and Noggin.
-- Weekly history reports. A weekly e-mail message sent to parents details their kids' recent online activity, including the total time spent online, Web sites they visited or tried to visit, e-mail addresses and MSN Messenger accounts of people with whom they've corresponded and attempted to correspond, and files they have downloaded.