In today’s digital age, video gaming has become an integral part of many households. With the release of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, Microsoft continues to cater to gamers of all ages. However, as responsible parents or guardians, it’s essential to ensure that the gaming experiences of young users are safe and age-appropriate. This is where parental controls come into play. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of setting up parental controls on the Xbox Series X/S to create a safer gaming environment for your children.
These consoles provide the necessary options to add and manage child profiles. These features are linked to Microsoft Family Safety, which works across multiple devices and is free to use with a Microsoft (and Xbox) account.
The level of elaboration is impressive, right down to which sites a child can view. If you don’t want to configure each setting separately, you can choose one of the preset profiles.
Why Set Up Parental Controls?
Table of Contents
Parental controls serve as a vital tool for managing and controlling what content and interactions your child can access while using the Xbox Series X/S. By setting up these controls, you can:
- Manage Screen Time: Ensure that gaming doesn’t interfere with other important activities, such as homework, chores, and sleep.
- Control Content: Filter games, apps, and media based on age-appropriateness to prevent exposure to inappropriate content.
- Limit Online Interaction: Regulate your child’s ability to communicate with other players online to ensure a safe gaming experience.
- Secure Purchases: Prevent unauthorized purchases or downloads of games, add-ons, or other content from the Xbox Store.
Guide to Setting Up Parental Controls In Xbox Series X/S
Setup via Microsoft Family Safety
Family safety settings can be accessed through the Microsoft account page on the web. Before you can manage parental controls on Xbox, you must tell Microsoft who is in your family. These family settings will then apply to all Microsoft products you use, including Windows and Office.
To get started, you need to sign in to your Microsoft account page on the web. Although you can do this on a console, it’s much more convenient to do it on a computer with mouse and keyboard access.
On the account page:
- Click View Family.
- Select Add family member to add a new person. There can be up to six people in a family.
- Each child will need a Microsoft account to sign in. If such an account has not been created before, select Create an account; otherwise, enter your login credentials.
- If you have created or signed in to a child account, it will appear in the family bar. Click on the three dots in the upper right corner of any profile to bring up a menu that allows you to change your profile picture and view recent activity. To set parental controls, select Go to overview.
The settings here apply to all devices where a child signs in with their Microsoft account, including phones, laptops, and consoles. However, the options for Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S will not appear until you connect your console.
Adding a child to Xbox
After adding a child account, parental controls become available.
- While signed into your own account on Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, open the Settings screen by selecting the gear icon at the top of the home screen.
- Select Account > Family Settings.
- Select Manage Family Members, select a child, and then select Add to this Xbox console.
- Enter the password for the child’s account.
- You will then be prompted to sign in to your own account. You can enter your credentials on your Xbox console or send an email to your phone or laptop to sign in from those devices.
Once a child is added, parental controls for Xbox become active. Some of these can be managed through the console, others can be configured from the Family Safety page on the website we reviewed earlier, or from the Microsoft Family Safety apps for Android and iOS.
To prevent a child from switching a user account on Xbox, it’s a good idea to set a PIN for their account. For this:
- Open “Settings”.
- Select Account > Sign in, security, and PIN.
Manage Parental Controls on Xbox
After you enroll your child, parental control options will be offered.
To edit parental controls directly on Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S:
- Open Settings using the gear icon at the top of the home screen.
- Select Account > Family Settings > Manage Family Members.
- Select a child from the list. A list of options will appear that you can select.
- Select Access to content to set age limits for games, movies, and other content on your Xbox.
Access to content and applications allows you to set age restrictions for games, movies and other content.
- Select Web Filtering to control what your child can access through the Xbox Web Browser – you can optionally set a specific list of allowed sites.
- Go to Privacy & online safety > Message security to filter or block content from the Xbox internal messaging service.
- Go to Privacy & online safety > Xbox privacy to find the main part of parental controls.
When you go to the Xbox privacy menu, if you’re in a hurry, you can choose from several default settings created by Microsoft: child, teen, or adult. Select any of these options and their associated restrictions will be listed on the right.
For detailed control of these restrictions, select View details & customize. Another list of options will open.
- Online status and history includes options such as who else can see when a child is online and what they have played.
- The profile includes settings for who can see the child’s real name and photo.
- Friends & Communities allows you to set whether a child can add friends and join communities on the Xbox console.
- The page titled Account Friends and Communities has four columns: You can add friends, Others can see your friends list, You can create and join clubs, Others can see memberships in your communities, and there is a box labeled at the bottom of each.
Control how children can communicate with other users
- Communication and multiplayer game includes voice and text communication with other people and access to multiplayer games.
- Game content determines whether this account can take screenshots and start live streams.
- Sharing outside of Xbox allows you to set options for sharing content elsewhere, such as social media.
- Purchase and Download determines a child’s privileges when purchasing games and content through the console.
Manage parental controls online or in the app
The main parental control setting that can’t be configured on the Xbox is the Screen Time limit. For some reason known only to Microsoft, this setting can only be accessed Accessed through the Family Safety page or the Android and iOS apps.
You can manage your Screen Time settings both online and in the mobile app. You can set different limits for different days.
- On the website, click the three dots next to the child’s profile.
- Go to Overview > Screen Time.
- Click on your child’s profile, then click Manage next to Screen Time.
- The settings are simple. You can choose to separate them by device (such as Xbox and Windows PC) or set the same screen time limits for all platforms. You can set the total number of hours of screen time, as well as a specific time when the device cannot be used, and these settings can be different on different days if necessary. You can also manually block and unblock access to specific devices.
Setting up parental controls on the Xbox Series X/S is a proactive way to ensure your child’s gaming experiences are safe, age-appropriate, and balanced. By following this comprehensive guide, you can confidently manage screen time, control content, limit online interactions, and secure purchases. Regularly communicate with your child about the reasons for these controls, fostering a healthy understanding of responsible gaming habits. Remember that parental guidance and open conversations play a crucial role in creating a positive gaming environment for your family.
You can find reports on your child’s activity on the website and apps, including how much time they spent playing games and what purchases they made. The same parental controls available on Xbox can be found online and in apps, including restrictions on game age ratings and specific sites that can or cannot be visited through a browser.