Xbox Gaming System
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 own 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 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.
And 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:
- 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 across all devices, and more. Easy set-up and comes with a parent app that allows you to pause the internet with one touch.
- 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.
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 (Family Safety)
Xbox actually 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 are by using their parental controls app, Microsoft Family Safety. You can also login into Xbox.com and 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:
- Tap the Xbox Button on the controller
- Select the Profile & System tab all the way to the right
- Select Settings > Account > Family Settings
- Select the account you want to add web filters to
- Select Web Filtering and choose the desired level
This 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:
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 us 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, it’s important that they (and you) know how to report them. Xbox’s article here explains the process.
We hope this guide was helpful and that you are able to keep your home protected while letting your gamer kid enjoy their Xbox in peace.
*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!