Xbox Gaming System
The Complete Guide to Xbox Parental Controls
The gaming systems today are absolutely fantastic pieces of tech. But please never forget that all gaming systems now have the ability to connect to the internet in some way. This is why it is so important to set up Xbox parental controls using the guide below.
Related article: Oculus Quest VR Parental Controls – PYE
Guard your Xbox with Layers
We believe there are multiple layers that should be in place in order to adequately protect your Xbox.
We recommend multiple layers of protection:
- Layer 1: Guard the location of the device.
- Layer 2: Love your router (WiFi)!
- Layer 3: Use Xbox’s parental controls.
- Layer 4: Enable content filtering on the Xbox.
- Layer 5: Enable Screen time controls on the Xbox.
- Layer 6: Request Xbox activity reports be sent to you.
- Layer 7: (Optional) Use the Xbox app on your smartphone.
Layer 1: Guard the location of the Xbox.
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.
Related post: The 5 Worst Places for a Kid to be Online
Layer 2: Love your WiFi (router)!
Your router is the most important digital hardware in the house! And, it’s often the most ignored. We joke that routers are the social distance champion of technology. But, 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.
Popular options for parents are:
- Gryphon Advance Security & Parental Controls router. We have really 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, and more. Easy set-up and a parent app that allows you to pause the internet with one touch.
- Alternatively, if you love your current router, but simply want to exert more control over it, then we recommend Bark Home. It connects to your router, giving you stronger parental controls over your home’s network. It’s not a router, but connects to your router. Easy-to-use app for you to exert screen time and app control over your kid.
**Bonus content – we tested the best routers out there and here’s WHY we picked Gryphon.
Layer 3: 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.
Layer 4: 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.
Layer 5: 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.
Layer 6: 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:
Layer 7: (Optional) Download Xbox Family Settings App
Parents with an Android mobile device can download the Xbox Family Settings app to manage screen time limits, monitor usage, and apply content restrictions.
*There may be affiliate links throughout this post because we’ve tested and trust 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!