Xbox Family Settings app launched to help parents keep kids safer while gaming

Microsoft has launched a new app that will allow parents to control what games their children play, how long they play them and who they interact with while online.

It's designed to keep kids safe from adult content, playing too many games and being exposed to abuse or cyber criminals while they're gaming.

The Xbox Family Settings app is available for free for both iOS and Android, and parents can customise their family's gaming experiences from their phone.

Xbox Family Settings app screenshots.
Screenshots of the Xbox Family Settings app. Photo credit: Xbox

"Gaming is a great way to unify and bring people together, but we also believe that gaming should be part of a balanced life as well as safe and welcoming for all, and we know this is especially important to families," says Dave McCarthy, corporate vice president Xbox in a blog.

"Right from their phone, parents and caregivers can easily create child accounts, update screen time limits, respond to notifications and much more. It's an easy and simple way to set guardrails on children's gaming."

Parents can set up an account for each of the children or teens in their home using the Xbox Family Settings app. 

What the Xbox Family Settings app can control: 

  • Screen time limits: These can be set to different levels for each day of the week and - after feedback on trials of the app - parents can also grant additional or bonus screen time for good behaviour
  • Content filters: In New Zealand, games are assigned ratings by the Office of Film and Literature Classification Video Game Rating System, just like movies. Parents can block access to games rated for use by people older than their child's age
  • Play and communication settings: Parents can block their kids from chatting with anyone online or limit it to their Xbox friends only
  • Friends list: Parents have the ability to approve or decline friend requests their child has made to add friends; parents can also view their friends list 
  • Activity reports: Gives daily and weekly activity totals on how much time each child to understand how they are spending their time on Xbox and on what games or apps.

The app will work with existing Xbox One consoles as well as with Microsoft's upcoming console, the Series X, which releases alongside rival Sony's PlayStation 5 in November.