Brandon LeBlanc on the Windows Team posts on the Windows Blog :

With yesterday’s update to Windows Live Essentials (which included the final release of Windows Live Movie Maker), we also released an updated version of Windows Live Family Safety.

Windows Live Family Safety is designed to help parents keep their children safer online. It offers parents the ability to manage which websites their kids can visit, as well as the list of contacts they can communicate with when using the Windows Live services such as Windows Live Spaces, Hotmail and Messenger. It can also generate a report for parents so that they can monitor their children’s computer and online activity. The best part is it lets parents monitor what their kids are doing from anywhere they are online — from any Windows Vista or Windows 7 PC that has web access and that parents have administrative rights to (via http://fss.live.com).

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The updated version of Windows Live Family Safety also offers deeper integration with Windows resulting in fewer log-in prompts and faster web surfing compared to previous versions of Family Safety while it’s running on the PC.

Windows Live Family Safety uses Windows accounts as the basis for storing settings. Parents are no longer required to have a Windows Live ID for each child who needs their own settings.

Windows Live Family Safety reads the Windows Parental Control (WPC) settings on Windows Vista and Windows 7 enabling parents to retrieve WPC activity reports from any Windows Vista or Windows 7 computer online. These reports include time spent on the computer, browsing history, and games and applications run. This monitoring is transparent to the end user, as a notification is displayed once on Windows account login when monitoring is enabled.

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With Windows 7, there are new Windows APIs which provide software developers greater control of Windows Parental Controls UI and settings. Windows Live Family Safety takes advantage of the new Windows APIs. It’s now easier for users to access Windows Live Family Safety directly from the Windows Parental Controls Control Panel in Windows 7.Windows Live Family Safety is another good example of Windows Live “lighting up” the Windows PC.

With these improvements to Windows Live Family Safety, Microsoft demonstrates its continued commitment to helping parents keep their kids safe on the Web. You can download Windows Live Family Safety, part of Windows Live Essentials, at download.live.com.