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How to configure parental controls in Microsoft Family Safety

Microsoft Family Safety provides comprehensive parental controls for Windows PCs, Xbox consoles and smartphones. In this guide, I’ll cover the basics of putting in place sensible restrictions for Windows and Xbox.

If you’ve not already created Family Safety accounts for your and the child you’re responsible for, or if you’ve not yet added your child’s account to Windows, first go to my step-by-step setup guide on how to do that first.

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You will need:

  • An internet connection
  • A Microsoft Family Safety organiser account for yourself
  • A Microsoft Family Safety member account for the child

The Short Version

  1. Open Family Safety
  2. Select your child’s profile
  3. Check the overview
  4. Scroll down
  5. Click Screen time on the left
  6. Check their screen time
  7. Enable a single schedule
  8. View and click on the schedule
  9. Select Every day
  10. Change the schedule
  11. Select another time
  12. Click Done
  13. Click Content filters
  14. Check your content filters
  15. Open App and games settings
  16. Check app restrictions
  17. Check spending settings
  1. Step
    1

    Open Family Safety

    Open your web browser and go to https://account.microsoft.com/family/homeMicrosoft Family Safety web interface

  2. Step
    2

    Select your child’s profile

    Click on your kid’s profile image – this will be a pastel-coloured animal labelled with either the name you gave them when you created their account or, if you didn’t enter a name or nickname, their email address.Family Safety with a member profile circled

  3. Step
    3

    Check the overview

    You’ll open on an Overview page showing their activity. At the top are sections displaying screen time, the current age filter configuration, and installed and used applications. I’m using a dummy account here because you should never share a child’s real online activity data with the general public.The member's overview page

  4. Step
    4

    Scroll down

    If you scroll down, you’ll see your child’s web history on Microsoft Edge, spending balance on Microsoft’s storefronts, settings for Xbox online and Activity reporting options, as well as links at the bottom to help you configure and troubleshoot your settings.the lower part of the member's overview page

  5. Step
    5

    Click Screen time on the left

    At the left-hand side of the page, there’s a navigation bar with a number of tabs. This allow you to view and configure key settings. You can also access these settings by clicking on their display widgets in the main pane. Click Screen time on left.The screen time option at the left is cricled in red

  6. Step
    6

    Check their screen time

    You’ll see a bigger version of the chart from the Overview page, and a summary of hours the user has spend on their PC. My demo system clocked a lot of hours because I left the virtual machine logged in and active.Screen time page with chart

  7. Step
    7

    Enable a single schedule

    By default, screen time is managed per-device, but there’s a button here to apply the same settings to all Windows and Xbox systems. Click the Use one schedule on all devices button.Use one schedule on all devices button is circled

  8. Step
    8

    View and click on the schedule

    Schedule controls for each day will now appear – you can bring them up in future by clicking anywhere on the schedule in the main page. By default, there’s 15-hour-per-day time limit from 7am to 10pm. This is definitely not appropriate for my hypothetical six-year-old! Click on a day to edit the schedule.Day drop-down in Edit time limit boxis circled

  9. Step
    9

    Select Every day

    In the Edit time limit block click the pull-down showing the day you selected. Tick the box marked Every day.Every day option in drop down is cricled

  10. Step
    10

    Change the schedule

    At the bottom of the box, there’s a 7am to 10pm schedule on display. Click into the 10:00pm finish time.End time is crcled

  11. Step
    11

    Select another time

    To set this to 8pm, choose 8:00 PM from the pull-down.8:00PM option in drop-down is circled

  12. Step
    12

    Click Done

    Click Done to save your settings. You’ll be returned to the main Screen time page.Done button is circled

  13. Step
    13

    Click Content filters

    In the left-hand pane, click on the Content filters tab.Back to main screen time page - content filters in the left pane is circled

  14. Step
    14

    Check your content filters

    The settings here are usually fine: Filter inappropriate websites and searches. The degree to which content is filtered depends on the age setting you’ve set for the account. This is also where you can blacklist (block) and whitelist (allow) specific sites, as well as lock down content restrictions to only allow sites you’ve specifically whitelisted. This is a high-maintenance approach that is generally overkill for most families.Content filters page

  15. Step
    15

    Open App and games settings

    Scroll back to the top of the Content filters page and click on the Apps and games tab just below the title at the very top.Apps and games tap is circled

  16. Step
    16

    Check app restrictions

    App and game restrictions only apply to Windows 10 and Xbox devices. Your child’s age rating is at the right, in a pull-down menu, which also allows you to change their age rating. Your child can request access to apps above this age rating – if granted, these will appear in the Allowed apps section. I’ve not allowed any. Below this you’ll see a list of Blocked apps. By default, these include most web browsers, so your child is obliged to access the web via Edge and your content filters.Apps and games page

  17. Step
    17

    Click spending

    In the left-hand pane, Click Spending.Spending in left pane is circled

  18. Step
    18

    Check spending settings

    The last stop on our tour of Family Safety’s main features are Spending settings. I have no balance or cards set up for my hypothetical six-year-old, but if you click Add money here, you’ll be able to use a card to give them a bit of spending money for the Microsoft and Xbox stores (within their allowed age ratings).
    Look down the page and you’ll see Age filters – my six-year-old requires my approval to buy anything even after I’ve given them money: click Edit to change this. Below that are Spending notifications, which will inform you every time your child spends anything in Microsoft’s online stores.Spending page

Kaspersky Safe Kids

Kaspersky Safe Kids

Protect your kids when they’re out of your sight

Protect your kids online and offline with award-winning parental controls. Get flexible tools that help you safeguard their activities, monitor their behaviour and teach them self-control.

  • Kaspersky
  • Auto-Renewal
  • £14.99 per year
Buy now

FAQs

My child’s activity isn’t updating

Make sure that both your device and that of your child are connected to the internet.

How do I block a site?

Go to Content filters and paste its URL or IP address into the Blocked site field, the click the + icon at the end of the field.

How do I allow a site?

Go to Content filters and paste its URL or IP address into the Allowed site field, the click the + icon at the end of the field.

How do I remove a blocked or allowed site?

All the sites you’ve blocked or allowed will appear in a list below their respective text entry fields. At the end of each site’s list entry you’ll see a Remove link. Click it to take the site out of your block or allow list.

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