Software & Apps Apps How to Use the Microsoft Family Safety App Keep track of the kids and manage screen time by Ryan Dube Writer Ryan Dube is a freelance contributor to Lifewire and former Managing Editor of MakeUseOf, senior IT Analyst, and an automation engineer. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Ryan Dube Updated on June 30, 2020 Apps Best Apps Payment Services Tweet Share Email The Microsoft Family Safety app is Microsoft's answer to Google's Family Link app. It provides insights into how your child is using their phone, their location, and even lets you set time limits on app use and game time. Previously Microsoft Family Safety was only available as an app to control your child's computer use in Windows 10. Now it's also available for Android and in preview for iOS. Apple has a similar app to this called Screen Time. How to Use the Microsoft Family Safety App Using Microsoft Family Safety has a few prerequisites. You need to have a Microsoft Family Group, your child needs to have Microsoft Launcher and Edge or Internet Explorer installed on their phone, and you need to add your child as a member of your family group. To get started, visit the Microsoft Family Safety page. If you haven't signed in with your Microsoft account yet, you'll be prompted to. Then you can select Create a family group to get started. To create your family group for the first time, you'll need to answer a few questions, such as your region, how many children you have in the family, and their ages. When you're logged into your Microsoft account, select the Add a member link in the Family section to start adding family members to the group. You'll be prompted to add a new family member to your group. If you're adding a spouse, select Organizer. If you're adding a child, select Member. Enter the email address, the correct Captcha code, and select Send invite. When the child account is first added, you'll need to configure what organizers in your Microsoft Family Group can see. Under your Child's account, select Manage permissions. Enable organizer permissions under all sections. Your child should receive an email with the invite to the Microsoft Family Group. Have them open the email and select Join Now. Once your child has joined the group, they'll also need to install the Microsoft Launcher app onto their phone so that you can track their location. Currently, this app is only available for Android. Help your child go into the app permissions for the Microsoft Launcher app and enable at least the Location setting. For other Microsoft Family Safety features to work, you'll need take make sure your child also has Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer installed on their mobile device. You'll need to give the Microsoft Safety Family app some time to sync with the Microsoft Launcher app before you'll see all of the menus appear. Monitoring Mobile Usage With Microsoft Family Safety Once the Microsoft Family Safety group is synced, there are a lot of things you can see and control on your child's mobile device. The Activity tab is where you can access all of the settings on one page. This is also where you can enable or disable overall monitoring. One of the first things you should do is enable Activity reporting, as well as Email weekly reports to me if you'd like to receive email updates about their mobile usage. The Screen time tab is where you can control at what time of day your child is allowed to use their devices. Currently, these settings are only for Windows 10 or Xbox devices and not mobile phones. App and game limits is where you can either block the child from using certain apps, or you can set a time range when they're allowed to use them. Content restrictions lets you manage what kind of content or apps your child is allowed to access based on age limit. Toward the bottom of this page you can either always block or always allow specific websites as well, regardless of the browser your child is using. On the Spending page you can require your child to ask permission if they ever want to buy an app from the Microsoft Store. You can also add money to their Microsoft account balance. One of the coolest features in Microsoft Family Safety is the Find your child page. On this page, you'll see the current location of your child. Microsoft Family Safety for Android If your child has an Android phone, the Microsoft Family Safety app, because it's less intrusive, is a useful alternative to other parental control apps. Keep in mind, however, that using Microsoft Family Safety requires your child to willingly join your Microsoft Family Safety group, and keep the required apps installed. So make sure to talk with your child before setting everything up so that everyone is on the same page regarding appropriate use of mobile devices.