Microsoft on Thursday announced that it was turning on the Microsoft Edge Kids Mode, in order to create a protected online space for kids to be able to browse the web safely on a device also used by adults in the same house.
The new Kids Mode on the Edge browser is now available for Windows and macOS users (no word on Linux support as of now) and works in the same way that Edge’s regular browser profiles do. By using the same approach, Microsoft has made it easier for parents to turn on the feature, which can be accessed from the profile section at the top right corner of the browser screen.
When turned on, the Kids Mode turns the browser into a protected, secure environment for children under the ages of 12, who can then browse the web using a commonly shared device. The session is protected from dangerous or disturbing content on the web, and parents can actually pick between two age groups five to eight and nine to twelve – both depicted by cartoonish icons. Depending on what mode you select, Microsoft will apply restrictions and filters on browsing.
In order to protect younger users, Edge will first disable well known Windows shortcuts (sorry, macOS users) to prevent kids from exiting the protected mode or trying to bypass the safeguards. The protections include the use of Bing to stop any unwanted content from showing up in searches, enforcing of Edge’s strongest tracker protections (presumably so children’s usage isn’t tracked) and turns on a whitelist of 70 well known child-friendly sites which parents can add to on their own at a later stage.
The web is a large place, so there are bound to be sites that your child might visit, which Edge will, of course, block while in Kids Mode. But if its a site that you don’t mind your kid browsing, the company says they’ll be greeted with a friendly “block page”, encouraging them to either ask for permission – or try navigating elsewhere. While these protections extent to both the previously mentioned age groups, selecting the higher range will also enable a specially curated news feed on the new tab page powered by MSN for Kids.
Microsoft also says you can customise the themes on Kids mode to help personalise their browsing experience, with custom themes created in collaboration with Disney such as Frozen, The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Cars, Toy Story and Coco. If you want to exit Kids Mode, or you want to quickly switch modes to look up something yourself, you’ll need to authenticate – this is just to make sure your kid doesn’t accidentally wander off onto an unwanted website, the company says.