Microsoft provides some incredible tools to help control and monitor your children’s experiences on the Xbox One, although some of these aren’t obvious to newcomers to the console. You can not only safeguard your child when playing online multiplayer games with friends, but you can control the amount of time they spend gaming on a daily basis, restrict access to inappropriate content and more.

Here, we talk you through setting up all the parental controls that the Xbox One has to offer. For more information on keeping your kids safe online, take a look at our selection of the best parental control softwareYou'll want to check out the details for XO19, the big Xbox event.

Creating and linking a Child account on Xbox One

Before you can enable the various parental controls available, you first have to create a profile for your child (if he/she doesn’t have one already) and link it to your account via Microsoft’s My Family service. While the parental control options can be complicated, thankfully, this part is simple.

  1. If your child hasn’t got an existing Microsoft account, create one.
  2. Next, log in to your Microsoft account and head to the Your Family section.
  3. Click Add a family member.
  4. Select Child, input the email address you just created and click invite.
  5. Log back in to your child’s Microsoft account and accept the invite.
  6. Your child’s account should now appear within the My Family section of your account.
  7. On the Xbox One, Press the Xbox button on your controller and scroll to the left until you get to the profile page.
  8. Click Add New and sign in with your child’s Microsoft account.

At this point, your child should be delegated a random Gamertag, and you’ll have to choose from three security settings; No Barriers, Ask For My Passkey and Lock It Down.

  • No Barriers, as the name suggests, allows anyone to sign to the child account and access system settings with no login prompt – not ideal if you want to place restrictions on what they can access when playing on the console.
  • Ask For My Passkey allows the child to set up a six-figure passcode for buying things from the Microsoft Store and changing settings – this is the ideal option as you’ll have to input the (secret) passcode before the child can buy content or change any system settings.
  • Lock It Down forces your child to log in with the associated Microsoft Account credentials not only when they want to sign in, but when they want to make purchases and spend Xbox credit too.

Setting up Xbox One parental controls

Now you’ve set up the profile on the Xbox One and linked it to your account, it’s time to access the various parental controls available to you.

  1. Log in to your Xbox account (parent).
  2. Press the Xbox button on your controller to access the Guide.
  3. Navigate to the cogwheel icon and select Settings.
  4. Go to Account > Family Settings > Manage Family and select your child’s Xbox account.

From here, you can tweak various parental controls to limit what your child can do and access via the Xbox One.

Privacy & online safety

Privacy and online safety are the biggest worries for parents when it comes to children gaming, especially with hugely popular Xbox games like Fortnite where anyone and everyone can play.

Microsoft tackles this in a granular way; by selecting Privacy & Online Safety > Xbox Live privacy, you can either apply one of three blanket settings (Child, Teen and Adult) or customise which elements of Xbox Live your child can access.

These controls range from the ability to hide their online status to removing the ability to talk to anybody in online matches that isn’t on your child’s friends list, and everything between. This is where the bulk of the parental controls live, so we’d recommend spending some serious time going through the various parental controls available.

Content restrictions

Content restrictions are extremely important, as you don’t want your children playing games and watching movies that aren’t age-appropriate, and it’s not always easy to tell at-a-glance if a game is suitable or not.

The good news is that you can customise the age limit via the Content Restrictions menu, allowing you to place an age-rating limit on your child’s account. Your child won’t be tempted by listings for inappropriate games in the console’s library either, as all restricted content is hidden across the entire console when enabled.

Web Filtering

Web filtering does what it says on the tin – allows you to control what your child can do via the Xbox One’s built-in browser.

You’ve got three choices on offer on Xbox One; turned off, basic communication and allow list only. The former, rather obviously, disables all restrictions, while basic communication allows your child to access social media, webchat and email. Allow list only offers the most granular control, offering access only to whitelisted websites, and can be set up via the Microsoft Family Center on a PC or Mac.

Purchase controls

While not found within the My Family section of the Xbox app, there’s a way to put a passcode lock on purchases on your child’s account. It’s a great way to stop unexpected spends – as long as you keep the passcode a secret – without restricting other elements of the Xbox experience. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your child’s Xbox One account.
  2. Press the Xbox button to open the Guide.
  3. Select Settings > Account > Sign-in, security & passkey. You may be prompted to enter the existing passkey if that’s enabled on the account.
  4. Select Change my sign-in & security preferences.
  5. Scroll to the right and select Customise.
  6. Scroll right again and select Ask for my passkey to make purchases.

There you go! A passkey is now required to make purchases on your child’s Xbox account.

Screen time management

Screen time management is a feature not found on the Xbox One console, but something invaluable to parents – especially over school holidays where kids can get lost in the digital world. The best part is that the screen time management extends to Windows 10 too, just on the off-chance that your bundle of joy has access to both a PC and an Xbox One.

To set screen time limits and access schedules, simply follow these steps:

  1. Head to the Microsoft Family website and sign in with your Microsoft account.
  2. From here, find your child’s name and click Screen Time.
  3. If you want to use the same schedule across multiple devices, toggle the relevant switch from off to on.
  4. You’ll then be presented with a day-by-day breakdown. From here, you can customise the maximum amount of time your child can play for on a daily basis by selecting the relevant drop-down.
  5. You can also customise the time-of-day that they’re allowed to game by clicking on the graph – just don’t forget to click Save to apply your changes.

And there you have it! All you need to make sure your children stay safe while playing on the Xbox One.