In the series of steps to take keeping your kids safe online, the second step is to secure administrative permissions on the computer.
Each computer has an administrator account, which has full power over the computer. This should not be the account which your child is using. Although your child may not intentionally wish to cause harm to the computer, or change any system settings, if your child unwittingly allows a virus to be installed or to be run, it will only have the power associated with the child’s account. Therefore, less damage can be done within a limited account, if the virus is able to be installed at all.
If you only have one account set up on your computer, and it starts automatically without prompting you to login, that means everyone is using the computer as administrator. For convenience and safety, you should create an administrator account (I name it “parent”) and a “limited” account for each child.
Because this limited child account is only for convenience, rather than security, I recommend that the child account have no password. It will be simple for the child to click his/her picture to log in. If the child is skeptical about why this is necessary, point out that now he or she can customize all the settings such as wallpaper, and screensavers. You will know that also the child can save his or her own files without disrupting or accidentally viewing your files. I name the administrator account “parent” for use by all the adults in the house, and assign a password assuming that at some point it will be discovered despite my best efforts – perhaps by a shoulder surfing child. So choose a password that your child will not guess (you would be surprised at how good they are at guessing these things) and your spouse can remember, but not your top secret password you use for other purposes. The name of a current or favorite pet is a great choice.
An account which is not an administrator account is called a “limited” account. You can become very specific about how you would like the account to be limited, such as not allowing certain programs, but generally just making it a limited account will be sufficient. If your child tries to install software or do other significant actions, he or she will be prompted for an administrator “parent” password.…