Microsoft released a new Kids Mode for its Edge browser on April 15, 2021. It is built directly into Microsoft Edge on Windows and macOS as a free option that is simple to enable and manage for parents.
The mode can be enabled by selecting it from the Edge profile option, and it will lock children into the Edge browser, allowing them to access only approved websites.
The new Kids Mode in Microsoft Edge is ideal for shared family PCs.
Microsoft designed this Kids Mode around the scenario in which parents hand over a laptop to a child to let them browse the web. When you activate Kids Mode, there’s an option to choose between five to eight years old and nine to twelve years old.
Both age groups have the highest level of tracking prevention in Edge, along with strict Bing SafeSearch to filter out adult text, images, and videos from searches. Microsoft has provided an automatic allow list of 70 popular kids’ sites, but parents will have to add any additional sites on top of that manually.
Speaking about the launch, Divya Kumar, product director of Microsoft Edge said, “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.“
Kumar further added, “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.”
This special mode curbs popular Windows keyboard shortcuts from working to prevent children from exiting out, but the same shortcut restrictions do not exist on macOS. When Kids Mode is enabled, an adult must enter their Windows or macOS credentials to exit and return to normal browsing.
If a child attempts to access a site that is not on the list, they will be directed to a block page where they can request permission from an adult. Kids Mode does not require a Microsoft Account and will not sync your list of approved websites across devices because it is privacy-focused and device-specific. Unfortunately, if you have more than one shared PC or laptop, you will have to create multiple lists.
The Kids Mode’s older nine-to-12 age range also includes a news feed on the new tab page, which includes curated articles from MSN for Kids. The current news topics will be more focused on science, fun facts, and animals than the latest pandemic or geopolitics.
The best thing is kids mode can be customized. Once Kids Mode is enabled, you can change the themes, colours, and new tab background. Microsoft has even collaborated with Disney and Pixar to provide special themes such as The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, and many others.