Xbox Family Settings app explained: what is it, where to download it, and how can it help your kids?

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If you've got kids, then you know full well that screen time isn't bad for them, but it's still important to keep an eye on it.

Lots of us grew up playing games and for many of us that's not done us any harm, but it's still important to make sure that kids get a well-rounded array of experiences. No, that doesn't mean just playing Halo but also playing Viva Pinata (we miss you).

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Instead, we mean that sometimes you have to impose rules. After all, that's one of the main things you should be doing as a parent. It's not always easy to enforce though, and Microsoft knows that.

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That's why they've announced a new Xbox Family Settings App, and here's what you need to know about it.

What is the Xbox Family Settings App?

The app was announced on May 27th in a blog on the Xbox Site. It explains that the app "empowers parents and caregivers to manage their children’s gaming on Xbox consoles through their mobile device."

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It includes features like:

  • Screen time limits – set limits for each day of the week, for example, you have the ability to allow for more time on the weekends or reduce time during the school week
  • Content filters – set filters based on the age of each child; an 8-year-old can only access games rated E, and will be blocked from accessing titles that are too mature
  • Play and communication settings – block all access to play and communication with other players, limit access to “friends only” or grant permission for older children to play and chat with “everyone”
  • Activity reports – view daily and weekly activity reports for each child to understand how they are spending their time on Xbox

All of that is from the blog too, but the gist of it is that you can better monitor your kids online and keep them safe.

Following the app's release, Microsoft has added new features that reflect feedback from testing. These are:

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  • Accept or decline friends your child wants to add
  • View and manage your child’s friends list
  • Proactively grant your child more screen time

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How to download the Xbox Family Settings App

As of September 24, the Xbox Family Settings app is now available to download on iOS and Android devices.

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Speaking on the launch of the free application, which is "just in time for the start of the school year," Dave McCarthy, the Corporate Vice President of Xbox Operations, stated that the Xbox Family Settings application "is an important next step in our journey to provide families with the tools they need to help create the right balance of gaming in their lives."

You can download the iOS app through this link so long as your device uses iOS 10 or higher. If your Android device uses Android 5 or higher, you can download the Android version from here.

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