What you need to know
- Microsoft Edge has rolled out a new Kids Mode.
- Parents can use the mode to set up a safe browsing environment for their kids.
Microsoft is launching a new Kids Mode for its Edge browser.
As reported by The Verge, Kids Mode, rather than being a separate app, is built right into the Edge browser. Parents can set it up without much trouble and, when enabled, kids will only be able to visit approved websites.
"It's a free, protected online environment for kids 12 and under that gives parents peace of mind when their kids browse the web on a shared device," explains Divya Kumar, product director of Microsoft Edge, in an interview with The Verge.
Kids Mode will let parents choose between two age ranges: five to eight years or nine to twelve years. Both ranges filter out text, images, and videos from searches that would be inappropriate for children. While the company has enabled 70 websites that are popular for kids, parents can add additional sites for them to access as well. One thing to note is that shortcut restrictions are not enabled for macOS, so the child could use them to attempt to exit kids mode if they knew the right shortcut command.
If a child attempts to view a site not on the list, there's a block page where they can ask for permission from the adult. As this is privacy-focused and localized to the device, Kids Mode doesn't require a Microsoft Account, nor will it sync your list of approved websites across devices. Unfortunately, that means you'll have to set up multiple lists if you have more than one shared PC or laptop.
The higher nine-to-12 age range also includes a news feed on the new tab page in Kids Mode, with curated articles from MSN for Kids. This won't be current news, or the chance for your child to delve into politics at a young age, as the topics will be more focused on science, fun facts, and animals rather than the latest on the pandemic or geopolitics.
Kids can also customize the themes, colors, and the new tab background in Kids Mode. Microsoft has teamed up with Disney and Pixar as well to offer movie-based themes like The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo.
Microsoft sees this as a "game-changer for parents," and the simplicity and ease of use is certainly refreshing to see. "When we looked at the other content filtering and control offerings on the market today, we consistently found that most of them require a very lengthy sign-up process or a subscription, and generally don't offer anything lightweight or catered for kids," says Kumar.
Kids Mode is available now in the Microsoft Edge browser for macOS. It is, of course, also available on Windows.
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