Xbox One Parental Controls

Microsoft’s latest console is the Xbox One. You can enjoy video games, content streaming, and chatting with other players (via Xbox Live). You can even use it to download apps and watch TV. Since its launch in 2013, Microsoft has sold almost 40 million units.

Xbox One parental controls

Gaming is beneficial, with some even arguing that it can boost problem-solving abilities, relieve stress, and stimulate your mind. Even without those benefits, though, it is a lot of fun for all families. Playing multiplayer Xbox games is a great modern way to spend time together; with that said, online safety shouldn’t be neglected. As with many online platforms, you need to be careful as there are risks. But with set parental controls, you can keep your children safer.

Microsoft Family Safety app

You can set screen time limit’s on all Microsoft devices (Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Microsoft Surface, and more) by using the Microsoft Family Safety app. The App can be used on Android and with limited functions on iOS too.

In addition to being compatible with all Microsoft devices, you can also use the App to create web filters and block adult content. Another handy feature of the App is its inbuilt tracking – you can track family members if you choose to.

The App is easy to use, and you can add a child to your Microsoft Family Account by doing the following:

  1. Visit
  2. Log in with your Microsoft account and click ‘Add a Family Member’
  3. You’ll be asked whether you’re signing up for an adult or child, select ‘Child’
  4. You’ll then be asked to enter your child’s email or phone number, then confirm the invitation

Ensure your child accepts the invitation.

Limiting games and apps

If you notice your child spending too much time on a particular game or app, you can set limits on a specific game.

Game and app time limits are available on all Xbox One and Windows 10 devices. It will apply to all your child’s devices when you set a limit.

Log in with your Microsoft account at Then:

  1. Select your child’s name, press App and game limits
  2. Find the app/game you want to limit. If you’ve yet to set any limits, it’ll let you know how often they use the game, on average
  3. Set precisely how much time your child can spend on the App

To warn your children when their screen time is almost over: 

  1. Hold the Xbox button on the controller
  2. Go to ‘System’ then ‘Settings’
  3. From the settings menu, open ‘Preferences’
  4. Select ‘Notifications’ then #Xbox Notifications’
  5. Edit system notifications and ensure that ‘System Notifications’ are activated

Block another player

You can block another player to stop receiving that player’s messages or party invites. It also prevents them from seeing your online activity. It’ll also remove you from their friends’ list. To block another player:

  1. Open the guide by holding the Xbox button
  2. Click ‘People’, and then select the Gamertag of the player you wish to block. If the player isn’t on your friends’ list, you’ll need to search in ‘Recent Players’ or find them manually with their Gamertag.
  3. Once you’ve found your way to the players’ profile, select ‘Report’ or ‘Block’

Unblocking a player is similar; you just follow the same steps and select ‘Unblock’.

Authorize purchases

Children can make unauthorized purchases if they’re left with unfettered Access to an easy online payment gateway. To prevent unauthorized purchases, you can set it to ask for a password before a purchase is approved.

You should follow these steps:

  1. Select System then ‘Settings’
  2. Go to ‘Account’
  3. Open ‘Sign-in, Security, and Passkeys’. You could be asked for your password.
  4. Select ‘Change My Sign-in and Security preferences’
  5. You’ll then be given several options to customize. One of those options is ‘Ask For My Passkey to Make Purchases’

Customize privacy settings

You can ensure that your child only players with friends by editing their privacy settings. In addition to this, you can block unprompted communications and deactivate voice chat if you want to.

You can do this by:

  1. Open ‘Settings’
  2. Select ‘All Settings’
  3. Tap ‘Account’
  4. Click ‘Family Settings’
  5. Customize your privacy settings

Mute other players

You can mute that player if another player engages in abusive or inappropriate in-game or chat voice communications. This stops them from speaking to you during in-game chat sessions. You can mute another player by:

  1. Press the button on your controller to open the guide
  2. Click ‘People’ and then find the Gamertag of the player you want to mute. You can search recent players or enter their Gamertag manually if they’re not on your friends’ list
  3. When you’ve found the player’s profile, select ‘Mute’

To reverse this and unmute a player, follow the same steps to get to the player’s profile and select ‘Unmute’.

Blocking messages

Your child must know how to deal with offensive and inappropriate messages. It would be best if you taught them to block messages by:

  1. Open the guide by holding the Xbox button
  2. Go to ‘Communication’, then ‘Conversations’
  3. Find and select the message from the player you want to block
  4. Click ‘More’ and then ‘View Profile’
  5. Once you’re on their profile, click ‘Report’ or ‘Block’

Screen time limits

Limiting game time can be difficult, as it can be hard to keep track. Luckily, you don’t have to! To set a screen time limit on the Xbox one, start by going to and logging in with your Microsoft account, then:

  1. Find your child’s user icon and select ‘Screen Time’
  2. If you want to have a blanket setting, you can set ‘Use One Screen Schedule’ to ‘On’. If you’d prefer individual settings, scroll and set the screen time settings individually
  3. It’s easy to set precisely how much time your child can spend on their device per day. Select ‘Max Scheduled’ if you want to give them the total amount of time you’ve set. For example, if you’ve set screen time from 12 am to 12 pm, they could use their devices the entire time

Content restrictions

To ensure that your children aren’t accessing mature content, you can preset recommendations by age. You can do this by:

  1. Open settings, then click ‘Account’
  2. Open ‘Family Settings’
  3. Select ‘Manage Family Members’ and select the child account to which you want to make changes
  4. Under ‘Access to Content’, you’ll be given several options. Choose the appropriate age-appropriate restriction

If you want to make an exception, you can approve a one-time unblocking of a restricted app or game with a passkey.

Wrapping up

Microsoft offers excellent gaming consoles, but they don’t stop there. Their Xbox family settings app can be used to monitor family groups, including settings designed to keep the whole family safe. While Xbox consoles are predominantly marketed at adult gamers, an array of parental controls is available that make them ideal for the entire family.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.

Officer James Banta

Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.