Xbox has launched a Family Settings app that lets parents set screen time limits, content filters and decide who their children can play games with.
The app, which is available in preview on Android and iOS, lets families manage children’s gaming on Xbox consoles in real-time via their mobile device.
Xbox said the app will help parents ensure their children “have access to gaming that you feel is appropriate”.
Dave McCarthy, Corporate Vice President, Xbox Operations, said: “We know that especially right now, families are facing new challenges in the wake of school closures, working from home and social distancing due to COVID-19.
“In my own family, we’ve had to navigate this ‘new normal’, and how our existing rules for screen time might need to be adjusted to better reflect our reality. With the Xbox Family Settings app (Preview), parents can easily relax screen time on Xbox so kids have more time to play, or create a new schedule to help balance time for remote learning.
“We believe that especially now, gaming plays an important role to help connect friends and family and have fun while staying home. The app makes it easy to find the right balance of gaming time that feels right for your family.”
The Xbox Family Settings app (Preview) includes features such as:
- Screen time limits – set limits for each day of the week. For example, you can 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. PEGI age ratings are used to confirm the game is appropriate for players of a certain age, and children will be blocked from accessing titles that are too mature. The PEGI age brackets are three, seven, 12, 16 and 18.
- Play and communication settings – block all access to play and communicate 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.
The app also contains a feature to easily enable access and multiplayer capability for Minecraft, which is rated PEGI age seven. A toggle enables parents to quickly allow younger children to play the game, one of the most popular titles ever made, either alone or online with friends.
McCarthy added: “Based on customer feedback on this feature, we may include similar functionality for other games in the future.”
The Xbox Family Settings App (Preview) will be available to broad consumers later this year, with more features such as allowing parents to view and manage their child’s friends list and approve or decline requests to add new friends via notifications sent to the app.
The Xbox Family Settings app (Preview) is available now for all Android users and the first 10,000 people on iOS to test in preview. To download the Preview, go to: https://aka.ms/XboxFamilyBetaAndroid and https://aka.ms/XboxFamilyBetaiOS and then follow the steps to set up on your mobile device.