REDMOND, Wash. — March 13, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to offer a new safety service, called Windows Live™ Family Safety Settings, as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to help protect families online through user education, industry cooperation and technology innovation. Family Safety Settings is being designed to go a step further than traditional parental controls and will help consumers better guard themselves and their families against online content and communications they might find inappropriate.
The service will help enhance customer safety by making family protection tools free, widely available and flexible through the Web-based Microsoft® Windows Live service, complementing related technologies from Microsoft, such as family settings to be available in Windows Vista™ that will help families customize their experience with both PC- and Web-based protection. Family Safety Settings will include content filtering for the Web, contact list management tools for communication services, and online activity reports. Service features will begin rolling out in phases worldwide throughout 2006 and will become available to customers using Windows® XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Vista.
“Online safety for children is a crucial issue facing families today. We’re designing Windows Live Family Safety Settings to help open the lines of communication between parents and children and in the process, give them a safer Internet experience,” said Blake Irving, corporate vice president of MSN. “We’ve heard a universal concern about exposure to unwanted content regardless of age, and Windows Live Family Safety Settings will help here as well. We’re providing tools to put people in control so they can explore the Web more safely.”
Microsoft is reaching out to experts at child and family organizations worldwide to help guide parents with recommendations for Web content filtering and online communications management using Family Safety Settings. In the United States, child development experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will provide age-based guidelines, which will be directly integrated into the service and will help give parents valuable suggestions on appropriate settings as well as best practices for online activities. Internationally, Microsoft is working to identify expert child and family organizations to provide additional, localized guidance in countries where Family Safety Settings will be available.
“It is critical for healthy child development to foster natural curiosity and a child’s desire to learn. The Internet should be considered an ocean with much to discover, and families should be comfortable allowing their children to explore it,” said pediatrician Errol Alden, M.D., executive director and CEO of AAP. “But at the same time, there need to be guidelines. We are very pleased to be working with Microsoft on Family Safety Settings to help provide families with new tools to help them navigate the Internet in the way that is appropriate for them and to encourage dialogue between parents and children about their online activities.”
Family Safety Settings is designed to include the following features:
Content filtering. Web filtering will allow customers to choose settings to “allow,” “block” or “warn” for a range of content categories, and unique settings can be applied for each member of the household. The filtering settings will be enforced when a user logs on to Windows Live on a PC that is running Family Safety Settings. Parents will be able to review and adjust settings online anytime from any PC to help meet the family’s evolving needs.
Expert guidance. AAP and other respected child organizations worldwide will provide parents with valuable guidance on age-appropriate settings and online activities. For example, users will have access to guidelines on how to help a child use online communications safely or how parents should talk to children about inappropriate Web browsing.
Activity reports. Parents will be able to access activity reports for each user in the family, at any time from any PC connected to the Internet, to help them stay informed about how their children are browsing the Web or communicating online.
Contact management. Parents will be able to create “allow” lists for communication services, including Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Spaces, to help prevent their children from crossing paths with unknown contacts. The allow list will also help parents restrict access to a child’s personal Web log (blog) or social networking page to only those contacts they have approved. These communication services protections will apply any time a user is logged in through Windows Live.
Family Safety Settings is currently in limited, private beta testing in the United States. Web content filtering and reporting capabilities are expected to be available to Windows Live customers in select U.S. and international markets in early summer with added contact management functionality rolling out later this year. Those wanting more information should visit http://ideas.live.com, or sign up for the Windows Live Family Safety Settings waiting list by e-mailing [email protected] More information about the American Academy of Pediatrics is online at http://www.aap.org.
About MSN and Windows Live
MSN attracts more than 465 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 42 markets and 21 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering compelling programmed content experiences to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. Windows Live, a new set of personal Internet services and software, is designed to bring together in one place all the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with enhanced safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web. MSN® and Windows Live will be offered alongside each other as complementary services. Some Windows Live services entered an early beta phase on Nov. 1, 2005; these and future beta
updates can be found at http://ideas.live.com. Windows Live is available at http://www.live.com. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com. MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx.
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