Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system will include new tools designed to make it easier for parents to monitor their children's computer and Internet usage without having to peer over their shoulders.

The new Family Safety features built into Windows 8 include weekly usage reports that are emailed to parents or guardians, and tools that allow them to block certain websites and apps, set time limits, and review Windows Store purchases.

"Computers give children access to many positive experiences; however, parents face challenges in monitoring what their children see online, the people they meet, and the information they share," said Phil Sohn, Microsoft's senior program manager for family safety, in a blog post.

Microsoft recommends that family PCs be set up in a common room so that parents can keep an eye on what their kids are doing online. "Parenting techniques like this are important, but they may be difficult to employ if your household has multiple PCs or if your kids use laptops and tablets. And glancing over a teenager's shoulder can be awkward for both parents and kids," said Sohn.