The Xbox One is a popular games console that can keep families entertained for hours on end. But, as a parent, how do you keep your kids safe while they're playing? Read on to find out more about the Xbox One's parental controls and how you can use them to keep your child safe as they play.
What are parental controls?
Parental controls are settings that you can use to manage aspects of your kids' electronic devices. You can find them on mobile phones, laptops, and games consoles — including the Xbox One. These controls let you filter or block certain types of content, manage who your kids can speak to, limit how long they can play for, or restrict how much money can be spent via the account.
Should I use parental controls on Xbox One?
If you have a child who uses an Xbox One without your direct supervision, we recommend reviewing how parental controls can be used. They are an essential tool for any parents whose children use electronic devices. These controls will prevent your child from accessing any inappropriate material for their age or chatting to anyone whose profile you have not approved.
Parental controls can also help to make sure that your kids aren't spending too much time playing on their Xbox One. You can restrict play time to specific days of the week or hours of the day and create activity limits that your children can't exceed. For example, if you want only to allow your child to play on their Xbox One for 2 hours on weekend mornings, your parental controls will enable you to do that.
Talk to a child regularly about online safety
The internet and our devices can be gateways to endless knowledge and new experiences, but they can also expose your child to threats that they may not understand without your guidance. Parental controls are helpful, but there is no guarantee that your child will not be exposed to inappropriate and harmful content while using their Xbox One or other electronic devices.
Once your child understands the dangers of the internet, you should introduce internet safety habits as soon as possible. Talk to them about age-appropriate material, the need for strong passwords, the importance of not talking to strangers, and responsible etiquette for engaging with people online.
Talk to your child about their favourite online games, websites and communities. Ask them to show you around and talk you through why they enjoy them. By being supportive and having an open mind, you will be able to establish a trusting relationship when it comes to online activity. Then, if something inappropriate does cross their path, make sure not to scold them but rather have a calm discussion about what they've seen and why it is problematic. By opening these lines of communication without judgement, your child will be more likely to talk to you if they come across something inappropriate.
How do you set up parental controls on Xbox One?
To set up parental controls, you will need to register an account with Microsoft at Microsoft Family Safety. When you set up a family account here, you will be able to create sub-accounts for all of your children. To set up parental controls, select the child’s account, then select Content Restrictions. Next, you will have to go to Apps, Games and Media, and then turn on Block Inappropriate Apps, Game and Media. Under Allow Apps and Games Rated For, select the age limit that you want to be set for that child’s account.
Under these parental controls, when your child requests to use a game that is restricted under these age limits, you can approve it and add it to the Always Allowed list under Content Restrictions.
Microsoft also has a convenient Microsoft Family Safety app to set up or modify all of your parental controls, in the same manner, on their web browser.
If you want to set up or modify your parental controls directly on your Xbox One console, sign in to your Microsoft account, press the Xbox button to open the guide. Press Settings, Account, and then Family. Select Manage Family Members, select the child’s name that you want to set restrictions for, and then Access to Content. Finally, select the age limit you feel is most appropriate for that child.
How to set screen time limits on your Xbox One
You can set a screen time limit with Xbox One parental controls, which is a great way to ensure that your child’s playing time is restricted to a healthy level. This feature allows you to customise video gaming to specific days and times of the week as well as set a maximum game playing time.
To set up time limits on your Xbox One from your web browser or Family Safety App, sign in to your Microsoft account, and on the family group page, select Screen Time, and then select On under Xbox.
Under these settings, you will see each day of the week listed, enabling you to customise which day of the week your child can use their Xbox One and for how much time. For example, if you want your teenager to only use their Xbox One for two hours per day on the weekends and not at all on school days, you can do that.
How to set up age restrictions on Xbox One
Microsoft also allows you to set up age restrictions on your child’s Xbox One, ensuring that they can only access age-appropriate games, apps and movies. From your web browser or Family Safety App, select your child’s account, then under Access to Content select the desired age-level restriction. This can also be done directly on the Xbox One console. Press the Xbox button, go to Profile and Systems, Settings, Account, and the Family Settings. Select Manage Family Members, then the account you want to restrict, and finally Access to Content.
Find out more about the benefits of setting up age restrictions on your child’s electronic devices like their Xbox One.
How to set up shopping limits on Xbox One
Microsoft has a handy feature on their parental controls that allows you to restrict purchases that your child makes on their Xbox One to only ones you approve.
To set this up on your web browser, sign in to your Microsoft account, select the account you want to manage, then More Options, and finally select Spending. On this page, you will need to select Credit Cards and then Require for Every Purchase.
On your Family Safety App, go to Settings, select your child’s account, Spending, and then Ask to Buy.
Finally, you can do the same thing directly from your Xbox One console. Go to Settings, Account, Family Settings, Manage Family Members and then choose your child’s account. Select Privacy and Online Safety, Xbox Privacy, View Details and Customise, and then Buy and Download. Finally, select On in the Ask the Parent Box.
If you want your child to have more independence, you could also give up a budget for them to spend on their Xbox One.
How to keep track of your child’s Xbox One activity
Finally, Microsoft parental controls enable you to see your child’s Xbox One activity and their gaming habits. The activity report enables you to see which apps and games your child has been using and for how long.
To turn on the activity reporting on your child’s account on your web browser, select your child’s account and then Overview. Select Activity setting, Activity Reporting, and then On. In the Family Safety App, go to Settings, and then turn on Activity Reporting.
Finally, to review the spending history on your child’s Xbox One account, you will need to sign in to your Microsoft account on your web browser and then go to the Order History page.
You can also help manage your children's spending with GoHenry, where you can set spending limits and rules from within your GoHenry parent app. With GoHenry you have full visibility over your spending on your child's prepaid debit card, as well as having that extra layer of security with spending limits and rules to stop any in-game purchases spiralling out of control.