Xbox Gaming System
The Complete Guide to Xbox Parental Controls
Yes, pedophiles use gaming devices to reach out to kids (as displayed in the news segment below). Please follow the steps below to set up Xbox parental controls on your Xbox One or 360 in order to create a safer online, gaming experience for your children.
Step 1: Set up Clean DNS on your home’s network.
Remember, you are responsible for every digital click on your home’s network, and so for every device that uses your home’s WiFi network, have something in place to monitor who’s connected to your WiFi and control where they’re going. Two popular options for parents are:
- OpenDNS – we’ve provided set-up details (FREE).
- Circle with Disney – by far the most popular parental control device on the market ($$ to purchase).
- Clean Browser – similar to OpenDNS, you can set Clean Browsing’s clean DNS and block most known porn domains (FREE). Read all about it in our extremely popular DNS blog post.
We’ve recently found OpenDNS to be glitchy with our internet service, which is why we’ve moved to Clean Browsing’s clean DNS for every device in our home, including the router.
Step 2: Configure Xbox Parental Controls.
Set up parental controls on the gaming system. For Xbox, this is not easy. Microsoft makes parents click through a ton of screens to set the controls. We’ll show you step-by-step below.
First, go to xbox.com and click “Sign in” in the upper right corner. If you already have a Microsoft account, you can sign in here. If you don’t, go to “No account? Create one!” where you’ll click, and walk through the account set-up steps.
You’ll be asked to verify the e-mail address you used to create the account, so go to your e-mail account, and click “verify [with your e-mail address].” This will sign you in automatically to xbox.com and assign you a random gamertag and profile image, which you can change in the “Customize profile” option.
If your child has not already created an XBOX account, sign out of your XBOX account and follow the exact same steps to create one for them. Once you’ve created their account, or if they already have an account, it’s time to add them to your family.
From xbox.com, click on your profile picture in the upper-right corner, and click “Xbox settings” as shown below.
In the left menu, click “Microsoft family” and then you’ll see a blue button for “add a child” (not shown). At the prompt, type in the e-mail address of the child (not shown).
Now, type the e-mail address your child used to create their account into the box and click “sign my child in.” You’ll be prompted for a password, and click “sign in,” and then click “yes” on the “Join the family as a child” page shown below. This will take you to a page where you can see the individuals in the same “family.”
From here, click on the name and profile icon in the upper right corner. Click “sign in with another account” and sign back in to your parent account. Click “Products” in the menu, “Devices & Xbox,” and then “Xbox & games,” as shown below. This will take you back to the Xbox homepage you remember from before.
Click on your profile in the upper right corner, and select “Xbox settings.” This will take you back to the Settings page you remember from before. Click “Privacy & online safety.” You may be asked to enter a security code if you’ve set up 2-step authentication. If not, you’ll see the screen below.
Parents have the awesome opportunity to use each of these decision points on the Xbox screen to have a discussion with your son or daughter, explaining the reasons why you are leaving certain functionality on or turning things off. Remember, open and honest conversation is so important.
Step 3: Configure content filtering on the Xbox
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, but this is an important step for blocking porn at the device level.
On the Xbox One console:
- Scroll left on the Home screen to open the guide.
- Select Settings.
- Select All Settings.
- Under Account, select Family.
- Select the child account that you want to add web filters, too.
- Select Web filtering from the options.
- Select the current setting to view all the available options.
- Select the desired level of web filtering. Note Specific websites can only be added to the Allow list in the Family section of your Microsoft account.
This in addition to content filtering done at the router level will provide a double-layer of protectiong against pornography and other inappropriate content.
Step 4: Consider screen time controls on the Xbox.
Microsoft provides instructions here for how to create screen time controls at the Microsoft account and Xbox level.
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.
Step 5: Request Xbox activity reports be sent to you.
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: