How to Set Parental Controls on the Xbox One

Use these settings to help make gaming safer for kids. By Caroline Knorr
How to Set Parental Controls on the Xbox One

For kids who love Microsoft's Xbox One, it's all about the games. Cuphead, Forza Horizon, and Ori and the Blind Forest are the Xbox titles that make gamers keep coming back for more. However, the maturity level of many of the games, combined with Xbox's compelling gameplay, make the system's built-in parental controls a welcome feature. Learn more about using parental controls

Kids can play Xbox One games on the console and on a Windows PC. Likewise, the parental-control settings work across both Xbox One and Windows 10 devices, and can be enabled either on the Xbox or in your browser through your Microsoft account. The first step is to link your Microsoft Account to your kid's account (the one they use to log into Xbox or their Windows PC.) For the family settings to work, both you and your kid need to use individual accounts. Here's a quick guide to key settings to enable parental controls on the Xbox One.

Time Limits

How to set time limits on the Xbox One
Time limits can only be set through your Microsoft account in your browser. You can make them apply to the console as well as to the PC.

  1. Sign in to your Microsoft account.
  2. On your family page, scroll to your kid's name and select Screen Time. (If you don’t see
    your kid's name, use "Add a family member" to add their account to your family group or create a new account for them if needed.)
  3. To set one limit that applies to both the Xbox and the PC, turn on "Use one screen time schedule."
  4. To manage time limits separately, scroll down and turn on screen time for Windows devices or Xbox, whichever you want to set first. 
  5. Click "Set a time limit." Then choose a start time and an end time for each day of the week.
  6. You can program the Xbox to send a notification to your kids when their screen time is ending.
  7. To do this, press the Xbox button on the controller.
  8. Select System > Settings  > Preferences > Notifications > Xbox Notifications > System and turn on "System notifications." Your kid will see the clock count down when time is ending.

Chat

How to turn off chat on the Xbox One using the console
These settings are found in the privacy and online safety section and also turn off other social features.

  1. Sign in to your Xbox.
  2. Press the Xbox button to open the guide. Then go to System > Settings > Account.
  3. Select Family settings > Manage family members.
  4. Choose a family member, then select Privacy & online safety > Xbox Live privacy > View details and customize > Communication & multiplayer.
  5. Select the setting "You can play with people outside of Xbox Live" and click "block" to turn it off. (This prevents all cross-network play -- for example, between your kid on her Xbox and her friends on their PlayStations or Nintendos.)
  6. Alternatively, if you're OK with your kid playing cross-network but not OK with them talking and texting with strangers, allow cross-network play but restrict chatting to specific people. Select "You can communicate outside of Xbox Live with voice & text" and designate a player or players with whom your kid can talk within a specific game. 

How to turn off chat on the Xbox One using the browser
These settings are found in the privacy and online safety section and also turn off other social features.

  1. Sign in to your Xbox Live account.
  2. Choose your kid's gamertag.
  3. Select Privacy and Online Settings.
  4. Default privacy and safety settings are in place for adults, teens, and children, but you can customize them. Click Custom.
  5. Review the settings under Activities, Privacy, and Content.
  6. It's safest to block things entirely or limit them to "Friends Only."
  7. Save your settings and have your kid log out and log back in for them to take effect.

Mature Content

How to limit mature content on the Xbox One using the console
You can limit access to games as well as websites on the Xbox.

  1. Sign in to your Xbox.
  2. Press the Xbox button to open the guide. Then go to System > Settings > Account > Family.
  3. Select "Manage family members" and then find your kid's name and select "Access to content," then select the age limit you feel is appropriate for your child. Microsoft automatically sets default age restrictions for kids, but you can customize them.
  4. Go back to the Family page and select "Web filtering." Select the drop-down menu to view the available options.
  5. When your kid requests to use a blocked app or game, you can approve it and add it to the Always allowed list, which is under Content restrictions. You can also add websites to Always allowed. You can respond to their requests from your email, from your family profile, or in person, of course.

How to limit mature content on the Xbox One using the browser
You may find that using your Microsoft account is the most efficient way of enabling restrictions.

  1. Sign in to your Microsoft account.
  2. Scroll to your kid's name and select Content restrictions.
  3. Next, go to "Apps, games & media" and turn on "Block inappropriate apps, games & media."
  4. Under "Allow apps and games rated for," select the age limit you'd like to apply to your kid.
  5. Scroll down to Web browsing and turn on "Block inappropriate websites."
  6. When your kid requests to use a blocked app or game, you can approve it and add it to the Always allowed list, which is under Content restrictions. You can also add websites to Always allowed. You can respond to their requests from your email, from your family page, or in person, of course.

Purchasing

How to block purchases on the Xbox One using the console
This lets you manage your families' purchases by requiring your approval.

  1. Sign in to your Xbox.
  2. Press the Xbox button to open the guide. Then go to System > Settings > Account > Family settings > Manage family members.
  3. Select your kid's account. 
  4. Select Privacy & Online Safety > Xbox Live privacy >View details & customize > Buy & download.
  5. Select the Ask a Parent box.

How to block purchases on the Xbox One using the browser
This lets you approve or decline requests to purchase apps, games or other content.

  1. Sign in to your Microsoft account.
  2. Find your kid's name and select Content Restrictions.
  3. Turn on Needs Adult Approval to Buy Things.

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About Caroline Knorr

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As Common Sense Media's parenting editor, Caroline helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids' media lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you're wondering "what’s the right age for…?"... Read more

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