10 WAYS TO KEEP KIDS SAFE ON THE XBOX

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Research tells us that hundreds, if not thousands, of gaming consoles are being bought and gifted at this time of year.

If you’re a parent, as well as making sure you buy the right games, you want to ensure your children are safe when they’re playing online.

A recent report by UKIE, found that:

  • 45% of children said that their parents don’t help them check privacy settings when playing games online

  • 33% of students say their parents don’t enforce any time limits to their online activity.

We asked Paulo De Oliveira, an expert in parent controls and family gaming on Xbox, for his top tips on keeping children safe when they’re playing online:

“1. The Right Console

We want to make life fun by uniting gamers everywhere through a love of gaming, but we also understand that you need to feel secure about what content your children are playing and who they’re chatting with online. Our customisable family settings offer the safety and peace of mind you need and make Xbox the best place for families to game together. We’d recommend choosing Xbox One S as it provides the best value in games and entertainment as families can play over 3,000 games and access to entertainment apps such as YouTube, Netflix and more with prices starting from £229.99.

2. Content Restrictions

Now that you’ve selected a console, it’s time to set up a child or teen account and install family settings. One of the most important is to filter apps, games or websites based on the age of your child. That means you can relax knowing that your child is only accessing age-appropriate content. We have age limits from 3 up to 18 years old, which also encourages parents to chat to their kids about what is and is not appropriate. Don’t worry though, if there is a rated Teen game you want to approve for your children, you can grant access at any time.

3. Age Appropriate Gaming

Just like films, games too have an age rating system called PEGI ratings. They are used to ensure game content is appropriate for different ages and clearly labelled with a minimum age recommendation. These are a guide and may help you decide whether or not to buy or download a particular product for your child. Visit pegi.info to find out more.

4. Purchase Limits

You can customise what purchases you permit on Xbox through various options, including receiving alerts after each purchase or setting up an allowance to limit the number of purchases your kids can make on their own.

5. Screen Time Management

To limit gameplay throughout the week you can set screen time limits and schedules for each day of the week. For example, you can limit your kids to one hour of console time on school days and provide extra time at the weekends. Children can request additional console time when they reach their screen limits, which you can choose to accept or decline. You and your kids can also monitor console use through activity reports - creating transparency and empowering children to understand how much time they are spending playing on an Xbox.

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6. Privacy

You can decide how your children engage and interact with others on Xbox by managing who can communicate and play multiplayer games with your children as well as restrict the activity and profile information others can view. This is especially valuable with the popularity of multiplayer games like Fortnite or Minecraft, and if desired, parents can limit interactions to just friends or family.

7. Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass delivers great value for families, as it gives each member the freedom to explore and play games, they are specifically interested in with unlimited access to a curated library of over 100 great games. From “Forza Horizon 4” to “Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure,” new titles are added each month all for a low price of just £7.99/month. There’s even a limited time offer of £1 for the first month. And if you’ve set age-appropriate content restrictions on your child’s account, they will only be able to access games appropriate for their age.

8. In-game Currency

In-game currency takes many forms and can be purchased on your console or in select retail stores and generally speaking it helps you progress further and faster in your game. Once you’ve redeemed your code, you can start spending. If you’re worried about getting surprise bills for Fortnite V-Bucks or FIFA Ultimate Team Packs, you could consider using Xbox Gift Cards as a way to manage your child’s spending. It’s a great way to use pocket money!

9. Payment Restrictions

The quickest way to manage purchasing options on your child’s Xbox account is using Passkey, a numerical combination of six Xbox controller buttons that acts as a password for you to approve purchases on your child’s account. Using a six-digit Passkey will save the need to manually type in your email address and password for every purchase that you wish to approve. You’ll be asked to set up your Passkey when you first set up an account.

10. Couch Co-op

Co-op games allow you to play family-friendly games alongside your kids. It’s the best way for parents to interact with their kids through games without interrupting their experiences. With games like Overcooked! 2, Xbox encourages you to get involved and join in with the fun.”

How do you make sure your kids have a life away from their console and are playing safely?