Microsoft has announced the Xbox Family Settings app has been launched for iOS and Android devices, giving parents and caregivers the chance to limit screen time and manage friends lists and content.
In a blog post today, the company says the new app will help ensure gaming is part of a “balanced life as well as safe and welcoming for all.”
The app will enable parents to set limits on screen time, but also to grant kids more upon request. So, if a young whipper snapper wants another hour of gaming after finishing their homework, they can send a message to their parent via the app. If the parent accepts, it is instantly communicated to the Xbox console and the gaming can continue, rather than just locking out the gamer at an important point.
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Parents can also accept or decline friends kids wish to add, as well as managing their overall friends list. It’s also possible to control access to communication features, limiting chat to ‘friends only’ or blocking it completely.
Naturally, there are content filters based on the age of each child, meaning 8-year-olds can only access games that are rated E for Everyone, for example. Microsoft is also including activity reports so parents can glean insight into how much time offspring is spending on their Xbox console overall.
The company is promising more new features will roll out over time and says it hopes the app will result in positive conversations about balancing gaming and other responsibilities.
The company writes: “Parents and caregivers know best what content is right for their child. By bringing key family settings features right to your phone, we hope that families feel empowered to have important conversations about how to balance gaming with other responsibilities like school and time with friends. We will also release additional new features in the future for the Xbox Family Settings app to provide families with the tools and support they need for safer and fun for everyone.”