Xbox Gaming System

Updated: 12/14/2023

The Complete Guide to Xbox Parental Controls

Gaming consoles are extremely powerful pieces of technology. But don’t forget that modern gaming systems usually need to connect to the internet to function properly and play games. This is why it is so important to set up Xbox parental controls using the guide below.

Guard your Xbox with Layers

The difficulty with setting good controls on Xbox is that there are account settings through Microsoft, and device settings through your own Xbox. On top of that, your router has settings that can help protect your kid as well. So, we have figured out the best way to keep your kid protected by going through all of these avenues and setting them up for maximum safety.

We recommend multiple layers of protection:

    • Layer 1: Location Matters
    • Layer 2: Love your Router (WiFi)
    • Layer 3: Xbox Parental Controls (Family Settings / Family Safety)
    • Layer 4: Content Filtering
    • Layer 5: Screen Time 
    • Layer 6: Request Activity Reports

Layer 1: Location Matters

Remember, where kids use technology often dictates how they use their technology. We have strong opinions about controlling where kids use their tech. For example, let’s keep all internet-ready devices out of bedrooms at night, where kids take more risks, and sleep is constantly interrupted.

Be sure to see our post on The 5 Worst Places for a Kid to be Online, so you can make your home a tech-safe environment.

Layer 2: Love your Router (WiFi)

Your router is the most important digital hardware in the house! And, it’s often the most confusing and ignored. But, please get this part of your internet safety plan correct. You are responsible for every digital click on your home’s network, so be sure to control the router.

If you are confused about your router or don’t know where to start, please see our Ultimate Guide to Understanding Routers.

Popular options for Parents:

      1. Gryphon Advance Security & Parental Controls Router. We have enjoyed the Gryphon. Top-notch set of parental controls. This is the router used by our CEO, Chris, with his four children. It gives you time control, YouTube Restricted Mode across all devices, and more. Easy to set and comes with a parent app that allows you to pause the internet with one touch.
      2. Alternatively, if you love your current router, but simply want more control over it, then we recommend the Bark Home. It’s not an actual router itself, but connects to your router, giving you stronger parental controls over your home’s network. It also comes with an easy-to-use app.

Gryphon Price Image for PYE Router Post

If you decide you want a Gryphon, use: pyefriends15 at checkout for $15 off the Guardian or AX. If you decide that a Tower will work, we can offer them cheaper than anyone else for $109.

Layer 3: Xbox Parental Controls

Xbox has a decent amount of parental controls, and Microsoft has made them fairly easy to enable. The easiest and most effective way to set up the controls is by using their parental controls app, Xbox Family Settings. You can also log into Xbox.com sign in and go to Family Safety that way. Typically, the app is going to be your go-to place for setting parental controls across your Microsoft Family.

Asurion has a great 2 Minute Guide for setting up Xbox Parental Controls:


Layer 4: Content Filtering

At this point, you’ve set up controls for the gamer profile, but we still need to set up content-filtering controls for the hardware/console itself. This can only be done through the console and is an important step for blocking porn at the device level.

On the Xbox console:

  1. Tap the Xbox Button on the controller
  2. Select the Profile & System tab to the right
  3. Select Settings > Account > Family Settings
  4. Select the account you want to add web filters to
  5. Select Web Filtering and choose the desired level

This is in addition to the content filtering done at the router and account level from earlier, so making these changes on the physical console itself will provide a double layer of protection against pornography and other inappropriate content.

Layer 5: Screen Time

Microsoft provides instructions here for how to create screen time controls at the Microsoft account and Xbox level. If using the app, go back to the Asurion video from earlier and watch how they set up or Screen Time that way.

Parents can also set up time limits for individual apps across all devices (Windows 10, Xbox One, and Android). For example, if you only want your child to use Minecraft for an hour each day, then if they use the hour on Windows 10 they won’t be able to use it on their Android phone or Xbox One). The instructions to set this up are here.

Layer 6: Request Activity Reports 

Once your Microsoft Family Account is set up, you can set up Activity Reports to be sent to you regularly that include games played and websites visited. It’s built-in accountability on the Xbox. You can learn how to set up activity reports through Microsoft’s article here:

How to Set up Microsoft Activity Reports

Xbox Voice Reporting

In addition to these layers, we have another important safety aspect – reporting users. Xbox is adding the ability to capture audio and report in-game voice chat directly to Microsoft. Even with all these settings in place, sometimes our kids will be gaming with people who say mean, crude, explicit, and degrading things. While we recommend disabling all chat features across all accounts and games, sometimes we parents miss a game or our kids reverse the settings (they’re digital ninjas!)

So, if your kid is ever online and experiences someone saying hurtful or disturbing things, they (and you) must know how to report them. Xbox’s article here explains the process.

We hope this guide was helpful and that you can keep your home protected while letting your gamer kid enjoy their Xbox in peace.

What if I have more questions? How can I stay up to date?

Two actions you can take!

  1. Subscribe to our tech trends newsletter, the PYE Download. About every 3 weeks, we’ll share what’s new, what the PYE team is up to, and a message from Chris.
  2. Ask your Xbox related questions in our private parent community called The Table! It’s not another Facebook group. No ads, no algorithms, no asterisks. Just honest, critical conversations and deep learning! For parents who want to “go slow” together. Become a member today!

The Table - Private Community from PYE*There may be affiliate links throughout this post because we’ve tested and trusted a small list of parental control solutions. Our work saves you time! If you decide that you agree with us, then we may earn a small commission, which does nothing to your price. Enjoy! 

Scroll to Top