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How to set up parental controls on the Xbox Series X|S

Here's how to keep your kids safe on their new Xbox console.

If you’re treating your little’uns to a shiny new games console, then they’re in for a real treat – especially if you’ve gone down the Xbox route.

The Xbox Series X and Series S are two cracking consoles, and with an amazing value Xbox Games Pass subscription you can unlock hundreds of games for you and your child to play. Racers, puzzlers, battle royales, you name it – Games Pass has it. It might also have some titles you probably won’t want them to play, but fear not as the Xbox Series X|S comes with some very useful parental control settings.

Its family system allows you to link the Microsoft accounts of everyone in your household, allowing you to monitor everyone’s activity, set screen time limits, and only give them access to games that you deem appropriate and safe. This can all be done through the console itself or through a dedicated app, and it’s a very smart and simple system.

We’re here to let you know what the Xbox family settings can do, and how to set them up.

What are the Xbox Series X|S parental control settings?

The family settings and parental controls allow you to both monitor and restrict what your child does on their Xbox Series X|S.

Here’s what you can monitor from either your account on the console or through the dedicated app:

  • Friends list
  • Total screen time
  • Requests to purchase games/items from the store
  • Requests to play games above their age restriction

Here are some of the restrictions you can set:

  • Age rating restriction for games
  • Total allowed screen time per day
  • Use of Xbox Live multiplayer
  • Use of cross-network play
  • Social restrictions (party chat, messages, adding friends)
  • Spending allowances and purchase passkeys

We’ll show you how to set all these things up below.

How to set up Xbox Series X|S parental controls

Here’s how you can set up parental controls on the console itself. The first thing you’ll need is a Microsoft account. If you don’t have one already, this is pretty straightforward to set up, and you’ll only need your email address.

Once you’ve logged in or set one up, head into Settings, go to Account, and then to Family Settings.

Xbox parental controls: A close-up of a black Xbox controller.

Once in Family Settings, you’ll need to head to Manage Family Members. This will then allow you to add your child’s Microsoft account (if they already have one) or create one for them if it’s their first time. Note that you will need a separate email address for their account, but the process allows you to create a new email as you go.

Now that the account is added to your family system, you can gain control of their settings and restrictions. To do this, you’ll need to go back into Manage Family Members and select the account you want to set restrictions for.

From there, you have three different options:

  • Privacy & Online Safety – this is where you can set what level of freedom your child will have with online, including adding friends, requests to purchase games from the store, sharing content, etc. There are preset defaults (child, teen, and adult) or you can tailor your own.
  • Access to Content – This is where you can set an age restriction on your child’s account. This will only allow them to play games with age ratings under the set age restriction. If your child tries to access a game above the age restriction, it will block them from doing so unless the parent enters their account’s password to allow it.
  • Web Filtering – this is where you can set what your child can use the built in web browser for.

These settings can be a little confusing as the interface is pretty stacked with text and information, so using the dedicated Xbox Family Settings app may be more beneficial.

Xbox Family Settings app

Struggle to make your way around an Xbox? The Xbox Family Settings app is available on Android and iOS. It is free and, once linked to your Microsoft account, gives an easily digestible readout showing what your child has been up to.

If you allow notifications, it will also notify you when your child is requesting to purchase items from the store or is asking to play a game above their age rating.

All the settings explained in the previous section can also be changed in the app. Clicking the small settings icon in the top right corner of your phone screen will bring these options up. We strongly recommend downloading this, especially if you’re worried your little one with buy all the best Xbox games and new Xbox games without you realizing.

So that’s how you can set up Xbox parental controls and monitor your child’s activity on their lovely new Xbox Series X|S. At a time when more people than ever are online and gaming, it’s good to know there are plenty of measures you can take to keep your child safe on Microsoft’s console.