How to Setup Parental Controls for Mathletics with Windows Vista  

Controlling my daughter's access to the Internet used to be simple. I created an account for her and if I needed to restrict access or "Ground her" from the Computer, I could simply lock out the account, or change the password. Things aren't so simple anymore because now she needs daily access to the Internet to complete her homework. Naturally, when left unsupervised she strays onto non-homework related sites. So, I decided to configure the Parental Controls feature of Windows Vista.

At first this worked well, until she started using Mathletics. Mathletics is a great site and the kids learn a lot but, it's a little difficult to setup for use with the Parental Controls feature in Windows Vista because, Mathletics uses a very large number of hostnames and domain names to serve up its content.

For larger screen shots, click on the graphics below
Control Panel Select User Choose Restriction

Step 1 - Open the Control Panel

Start --> Control Panel
Click - "Set up parental controls for any user"

Step 2 - Select User

Click - "Set up parental controls for any user"

Step 3 - Modify Windows Settings

Click - "Windows Vista Web Filter"

Block Web Sites Edit Allow List Review List

Step 4 - Block Web Sites

Click - "Edit the Allow and block list"
Tick the box - "Only allow websites which are on the allow list"

Step 5 - Edit the Allow List

Type Addresses that you will allow
Then, Click - "Allow"

Step 6 - Review List

Review the list of Allowed websites

Steps 1 through 6 have shown the method for adding Web Sites to the Allowed Site list. You could repeat these steps to add the Mathletics Web Site to the Allowed List however, because of the way Mathletics is setup, there are more than 100 different names you would manually have to add to the list. So, the next steps will show you how to Import and Export a list of Allowed or Blocked sites.
Important: If you've already setup some sites on the Allow or Block list and you want to preserve them, you'll need to Export the List because, when you import an AllowBlock List, it overwrites your existing list.

Export List Save List Edit List

Step 7 - Export List

Click - "Export"

Step 8 - Save List

Select the Directory where you want to save the List
Type a File name
Click - "Save"
The file extension will be .WebAllowBlockList

Step 9 - Edit List

Using your favourite text editor, open the AllowBlockList file that you saved.

You can use a text editor like Notepad or WordPad to edit the AllowBlockList. My personal favourite is Programmer's File Editor, but that's a holdover because I've been using it since 1997. I don't recommend using Microsoft Word for editing this file.
The basic format for the AllowBlockList is as follows:

<URL AllowBlock="1"></URL>
<URL AllowBlock="1"></URL>

The list begins with:
and ends with:

For each Web Site listed, there are two options for the AllowBlock statement
<URL AllowBlock="1"> means that a Web Site will be allowed
<URL AllowBlock="2"> means that a Web Site will be blocked

The specifics about all the options for these statements are listed on the MSDN Section of
It appears that sites can be allowed or blocked at the domain level (meaning in this case). However, for this scenario, there are several domains used and it was difficult to figure them all out (,, etc.). So, I took the entire range of IP Addresses used by and wrote a PERL Script to perform reverse DNS lookups to resolve all the IPs into names.

Then, I massaged all the names into AllowBlock statements in the appropriate format for use by Windows Vista Parental Controls.

Step 10 - Download the List of Allowed Web Sites

Download the list of Allowed Web Sites for You can right click and Save Target As if you want.
Merge Lists Import List Acknowledge Warning

Step 11 - Merge Exported List

Using your favourite text editor, merge your Exported AllowBlockList with my AllowBlockList.

Step 12 - Import List

Click - "Import"
Find the location of your AllowBlockList file and import it.

Step 13 - Acknowledge Warning

Click - "Yes"
Remember, the file you're importing will overwrite any previous entries in the Allow and Block Lists.

Review Lists    

Step 14 - Review AllowBlock List

Review the Allowed and Blocked Web Sites to make sure that's what you want, then
Click - "OK" to accept the changes.

The Allowed and Blocked Web Sites will be effective the next time the Restricted User logs in. If they're currently logged in, you'll need them to log out and log back in for the changes to be recognized.
I hope these instructions help you out. For questions or comments, contact me via Email
Mathletics Web Sites on the Allow List are valid as of: 6 September 2008
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