Windows Vista will include deeply integrated parental controls to assist parents in monitoring kids’ time online and preventing access to inappropriate web sites.
A more limited service for Windows XP is now available under the name Windows Live OneCare Family Safety. This is a beta release without all the features planned for the final product; at some point it will be more or less integrated into the Windows Live OneCare security service. Here’s an article with more details about the beta version, and here’s more info from Microsoft.
The Windows XP service prevents access to inappropriate sites but doesn’t do anything else. The Vista service will add time restrictions and fine-grained control over specific programs and services – instant messaging, for example.
In a brief test today, it was a bit confusing to set up the accounts for family members but more disturbing that Internet access was glacially slow or broken. That could be opening day jitters, though, and the developers acknowledge on their blog that the setup process needs work. For the moment I’ve uninstalled it and gone back to testing Safe Eyes.