In Microsoft’s ongoing endeavor to convert people to its rebooted Edge web browser, it’s launching a new Kids Mode that makes it easy for parents to control how their children surf the web.
Kids Mode is a free option built directly into Microsoft Edge on Windows and macOS. Enabling it is as simple as navigating to the user profile menu in the browser’s upper right corner and selecting “Browse in Kids Mode”. Parents have the choice between two versions, one for ages five to eight years and one for ages nine to 12 years. Both enable the strictest level of tracking prevention in Edge and Bing SafeSearch by default to filter out adult text, images, and videos from search results. The only difference between the two age ranges is that the older one includes a newsfeed with curated articles from MSN for Kids. Don’t worry though: It focuses on more kid-friendly topics like fun science and animal facts rather than breaking news and politics, Microsoft said.
Kids Mode also restricts what sites kids have access to, with roughly 70 popular kids sites allowed from the get-go (any additional allowable sites have to be added to the list individually). If a child tries to view a site that’s not on that list, they’re met with a cutesy block page, pictured below, that prompts them to ask an adult for permission.
In a blog post announcing the news on Thursday, Microsoft’s corporate VP Liat Ben-Zur called Kids Mode a “game-changer for parents who are juggling all the demands of life today.” Microsoft intentionally designed it to make adding and removing allowed sites as convenient as possible for parents so that they could have peace of mind when using shared devices.
Microsoft also addressed a workaround that kids might use to slip past these measures. Kids Mode restricts popular Windows keyboard shortcuts to keep users from simply exiting out of the browser and opening a new one, the Verge reports.
More than anything else, though, Microsoft designed Kids Mode with its younger users in mind, Ben-Zur said.
“[I]t became clear that the best way to keep kids from trying to leave was to make them want to stay. In other words, we set out to create the most appealing environment a kid could ever want for browsing the web.”
So, as you can see in the screenshot above, Microsoft’s visual designers went with plenty of bright colors and silly characters to make a browsing experience catered to children. It also added the option to customize the browser’s appearance so that kids could get creative and opted for a layout that’s easy to navigate.
To switch the browser back to normal, an adult must enter their Windows or macOS credentials.
Kids Mode is one of several new features it’s rolling out for Edge this month, Microsoft said Thursday. So if you’re already an Edge convert, keep your eye out for future coverage.