REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 18, 1997 — Safeguarding children on the Internet and protecting the family PC and important files from kids are concerns on the minds of many parents these days. A new product from Microsoft Corp. gives parents a quick and easy solution to both. Microsoft® Plus! for Kids — available now — provides parents with a central location for controlling which programs and files their children can access on the computer and determining what types of content the PC can access on the Internet. At the same time, it lets each child in the family create a personalized desktop and enjoy creativity applications, all while learning to use the Windows 95 operating system.
The Microsoft Plus! for Kids Protect It! feature allows parents to quickly and easily set up a customized profile for each member of the family and change the profiles when they want. Parents decide what each family member can and cannot access on the PC’s hard drive including files, programs, computer settings and modem usage. Once the profiles are set, kids will not be able to access important data, accidentally delete files or change computer settings.
Protect It! also allows parents to set Internet restrictions regarding the types of Web sites and content that can be accessed by the family PC. The restrictions utilize Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) technology and the Recreational Software Advisory Council (RSAC) rating system.
RSAC, a nonprofit organization, developed a Web site rating system based on four parameters: language, nudity, sex and violence. Parents select from five rating levels within each of the four parameters to determine the amount of adult language, nudity, sex and violence their children can access on RSAC-rated Web sites. Once ratings within each parameter have been designated, parents can rest assured that their kids are seeing only Internet content that falls within the set restrictions. Additionally, Protect It! allows parents to determine whether their children can access unrated Web sites.
Make the PC More Fun and Inviting for Kids
Microsoft Plus! for Kids lets children learn to use Windows® 95 at their own pace. Whenever kids log on to Windows 95, they see their own customized desktop offering only the programs their parents have designated for their use. They can choose from one of 10 kid-oriented desktop themes, each with its own sounds, wallpaper, desktop icons, screen saver and animated mouse pointers. For ocean lovers, the Underwater theme has an animated scuba diver and starfish mouse pointers, and the Messy Room screen saver keeps piling up dirty clothes, skateboards, banana peels and other castoffs. As a sample, the Underwater desktop theme is available free at http://www.microsoft.com/kids/ (connect time charges may apply).
Keeping kids entertained for hours through a variety of high-quality and engaging creativity applications, Microsoft Plus! for Kids includes Talk It!, Play It!, and Paint It! Talk It! is a text-to-speech tool that pronounces whatever words kids type – including ones they’ve made-up – using 20 different funny and surprising voices. Talk It! works in both English and Spanish.
Play It!, an electronic keyboard application, allows kids to create and record their own music, using the keyboard, mouse and 108 cool sounds. Kids can also play 10 different styles of music, including hip hop, jazz and reggae.
Paint It! includes dozens of cool painting and drawing tools, audio tools, color palettes, and special effects – such as the Blender tool that changes pictures in crazy ways, such as making them crack into pieces or melt. Paint It! also lets kids create new desktop wallpaper with just a click of a button.
Additionally, Microsoft Plus! for Kids comes with Picture Picker, which features more than 1,000 kid-oriented clip art images ranging from realistic color graphics to cartoon-style images, and 33 cool fonts kids can use in letters, writing projects, newsletters and more! Both clip art and fonts work with most commercially available Windows-based software .
Pricing, Availability and System Requirements
Microsoft Plus! for Kids is available now in most computer stores scheduled to be available in stores in late February for approximately US $24.95. The product is designed for parents with children ages 3 to 12.
To use Microsoft Plus! for Kids, you need:
Personal or multimedia computer with a 486DX/33 MHz or higher processor
Microsoft Windows 95 operating system
8 MB of memory (RAM)
32 MB of available hard disk space. Additional hard disk space required if you install Microsoft Internet Explorer
Super VGA, 256-color monitor and video card
Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
Windows-compatible sound card
Headphones or speakers for optimal sound
To use Internet security features of Protect It!, you need:
9600 or higher baud modem (14,000 baud recommended) required for Internet access
Internet access (may require payment of a separate fee to your Internet service provider)
Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 or later. Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.01 is included on the Microsoft Plus! for Kids compact disc.
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