How to Use Xbox One Parental Controls

Limiting screentime, online play, and digital purchases is pretty easy

Xbox One has parental controls that you can use to keep track of kids' playtime, limit the games they can buy and play, and place restrictions on some online features.

To set up parental controls, parents much create an Xbox account for each of their kids. Part of the process includes selecting the age of each child; once a child turns 18 (in the U.S.) Xbox considers them an adult and automatically removes all limitations.

Here's everything you need to know before letting kids play their first video game on an Xbox One console.

Managing a Child's Xbox Account With Family Settings

Microsoft provides a free service for families that allow parents to monitor and place limits on a child's account on Xbox One consoles.

To use this service, at least one parent must first log in with their own Xbox or Microsoft account on the Xbox One console. After this is done, they can then invite their child's account to become part of the family group. Once they're added, you'll be able to limit their play time, what sort of games they can play, and their ability to purchase new titles.

If you've already set up Windows 10 Parental Controls with your child, you don't need to do anything further. You can manage their Xbox One gaming from the same control panel. Remember, Xbox and Microsoft accounts are the same.

How to Add a Child to a Family Group on Xbox One

  1. Have your child sign in to their account on the Xbox One as usual.

    It's possible that they may already be signed in. You can check if they are by checking the user list in the far-left pane of the Guide which can be opened by pressing the Xbox logo button on your controller.

  2. Sign into your account on the Xbox One console.

    The Xbox One allows multiple users to be logged in at the same time. Do not log anyone out.

  3. Press the Xbox logo on your controller to open the Guide.

    Xbox One dashboard and Guide.
  4. Scroll to the far-right pane and highlight Settings. Press A on your controller.

    Xbox One dashboard and Guide.
  5. From the Account settings page, highlight Family settings and press A.

    Xbox One Family Settings.
  6. An option called Add a child should appear at the bottom of the menu. Highlight it and press A.

    Xbox One Family Settings.

    If the option to Add a child doesn't appear, it's likely that your child's account has been registered as an adult account. This can happen when the date of birth entered during the signup process places them over the age of 18.

    It is impossible to revert an adult account to a child account after it's been set up. Even if you manually change the date of birth in the account settings. The only solution for this problem is to create an entirely new account from scratch.

  7. Select your child's account and press A once again.

    Xbox One Family Settings.
  8. You'll be presented with a confirmation screen. Highlight Add to family and press A.

Xbox One Child Account Options

Once the child's account has been added to your family on the Xbox One, you can manage almost every aspect of the account by going to Settings > Account > Family settings > Manage family members and exploring each of these three sections.

Xbox One Family Settings
  • Privacy & online safety: This section will have options for controlling what games and apps they can download and play, whether they can show that they're online to others, the display options for their real name, and app privacy features.
  • Access to content: This setting lets you add age restrictions on rated games and other media. For example, you can restrict their account to accessing content appropriate for 12 year olds only.
Xbox One Family Settings
  • Web filtering: Web filtering is used to restricting which websites they can access when using a web browser on Windows 10, Android, or on an Xbox One console. Here you can limit access to specific websites or even ban browsing completely.
Xbox One Family Settings

How to Create An Xbox Account For Your Child

Creating an Xbox account for a child is done exactly the same way as making one for an adult.

An Xbox account can be created for free on the Xbox One dashboard or from the official Xbox website.

This account is for the child to use so all of the information input during this signup process, such as their age and name, should relate to them. Their date of birth is particularly important as this will determine if they are a child or not. You will not be able to manage their account settings if the Xbox thinks they're another adult.

Xbox accounts are exactly the same thing as a Microsoft account. If your child already has an Outlook or Hotmail email address, uses Skype, or has a Windows 10 computer, they can simply log in with that account on the Xbox One console and use that as their Xbox account.

Here's how to create a new account on the Xbox One for your child.

  1. Press the Xbox logo button on your Xbox controller to open the Guide.

    Creating an Xbox account on an Xbox One console.
  2. Scroll left to the Sign in pane.

    Creating an Xbox account on an Xbox One console.
  3. Highlight Add new and press A on your controller.

    Creating an Xbox account on an Xbox One console.
  4. A keyboard will automatically appear on screen. Press B on your controller to remove it.

    Creating an Xbox account on an Xbox One console.
  5. Highlight Get a new email and press A to begin the account creation process.

Depending on the age of the child, it can be a good idea to keep their login information, such as their email address and password, to yourself until they're older.

Understanding Xbox Accounts

To buy, download, and play video games on an Xbox One console, an Xbox account is needed. It can be tempting to use the one account for the entire family but savvy users give each user their own unique Xbox account for the following reasons.

  • Video game progress and accomplishments are saved to individual Xbox accounts. Giving each member of your family their own Xbox account can help prevent the overwriting of someone else's save data.
  • Having everyone's Xbox friends connected to the one account can be very confusing for online play as the online friends will have no idea which member of the family is actually playing.
  • It's impossible to transfer game data to another account. This means that if your child uses your Xbox account to play Minecraft or Fortnite they'll have to start from scratch whenever they make their own account in the future.
  • An Xbox account is also a Microsoft account and is used for programs and services such as Outlook, Skype, and Office. It's also used for downloading apps from the Windows 10 Microsoft Store app store. Once set up, the same login email and password can be used for all services. Most children will likely need a Microsoft account by the time they start high school so it can be a good idea to create one now so that they can learn how to use it.
  • By giving each child their own account, you'll be able to monitor how much time they spend playing games and what games they play. You can also enable and disable certain privacy settings and account restrictions.