Microsoft readies Windows Live parental controls

Microsoft is inviting testers to try an early version of new parental control software for Windows XP called Windows Live Family Safety Settings.

The parental controls software lets people filter online content, Microsoft said in an e-mail invitation to testers sent Wednesday. It is designed to help keep Web content that parents deem inappropriate from reaching their children–such as items on alcohol, pornography, gambling and tobacco, the company said.

Windows Live Family Safety Settings lets customers create individual accounts for children and see activity reports on the Web sites they visited. The service can be disabled when the parents themselves go online, Microsoft said.

In addition to the Live family filter, which works with Windows XP, Microsoft is building parental controls into Windows Vista, the next version of the operating system due by year’s end.

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