How to Enable Parental Controls for Windows 10 & Xbox

edited August 2023 in Lifestyle

Control and monitor your child's devices with parental controls 

Modern kids are always connected. They probably spend more time online than anyone else in the household. The internet can be a good thing, as it allows them to stay connected and learn from the world around them. But, explicit and disturbing websites and potential dangers lurk in the background. How can we protect them? 

One of the biggest concerns as a parent is monitoring the content they view. To help protect your child, you can use parental controls on their devices. These allow you to restrict what your child can see and do online. You can also set limits on how long they can spend online and who they can talk to. 

Our step-by-step guide will give kids a safer online experience by teaching you to enable parental controls and privacy settings on: 

  • Windows 10 
  • Xbox 

What are parental controls? 

Parental controls are software or settings that allow you to monitor and restrict what your child does online. Combined with privacy settings, these will help you protect your children from sites they shouldn't view online.  

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends selecting and watching content with your child. However, this isn't always possible with the explosion of internet-enabled devices. This is where parental controls come in. They help keep an eye on your kids when you can't physically supervise them online. 

How do parental controls work? 

Parental controls: 

  • Control or block apps and video games kids can access 
  • Filter web browsers to show only approved sites 
  • Manage search engines to limit your child's search topics 
  • Prevent children from using certain services 
  • Manage types of videos that are searchable 

How do I set parental controls? 

As parents, we face a challenge: giving our children digital freedom and defining those boundaries. Figuring out what kind of parental control is best will depend on your own family's needs. The level of control required depends on their: 

  • Age 
  • Maturity 
  • Impulse control 
  • Sensitivity 
  • Special circumstances 
  • Risk-taking behavior 
  • Devices 

Before you start imposing limits and restrictions, you should talk with your children about online dangers, including: 

  • Inappropriate conduct: The internet feels anonymous. But children are still responsible for their actions. 
  • Inappropriate content: You're concerned that your child could find violence, pornography, or hate speech online. 
  • Inappropriate contact: Some online users have bad intentions, including predators, bullies, hackers, and scammers. 

Encourage your child to talk with you about anything they find upsetting online. Let them know that before they have email or social media accounts, a phone, or devices, you reserve the right to check how they use them. It doesn't mean you don't trust them, but you want to ensure they're safe online. Children should understand the reasons for using parental controls and agree to the rules. Otherwise, they may find a way around any cyber protections.  

Monitor your child's devices 

Once you have discussed parental controls with your child, it is time to get started. The days of one parental control software protecting your home PC are long gone. Kids now use internet-connected devices, so the software you choose should support all your household's device types.  

How to set Windows 10 parental controls 

Windows 10 offers parental controls to ensure children are protected online, including: 

  • Setting screen time limits 
  • Restricting website and search  
  • Setting app and game filters 
  • Managing purchase permissions 
  • Locating family members 
  • Monitoring online activity 

Join Microsoft Family Safety 

The first step is to create an account for your child to enable parental controls: 

  1. Head to, and sign in with your Microsoft account. 
  2. Click Add a Family Member to add your child.  
  3. Enter your child's email or cell phone number. 
  4. Choose a member role which enables them to edit their settings based on their age. 
  5. Click Invite, which allows your child to sign into their Microsoft account to accept and join the family group. 

How to block inappropriate apps, games & media on Windows 10: 

  1. Head to, and sign in with your Microsoft account. 
  2. Find your child's name and click More options > Content Filters.  
  3. Go to Apps and Games. Under Allow apps and games rated for, specify the age limit for the content they will have permission to access.  
  4. For blocked app or game requests, add them to the Always allowed list under Content Filters.  
  5. You can view the content your child is accessing without setting up content filters. Go to the Activity page and switch on the Activity reporting toggle. 
  6. If your child has downloaded software before these restrictions, you can block it on the Activity page.

How to block inappropriate websites on Windows 10: 

  1. Visit Sign in with your Microsoft Family Safety account. 
  2. Find your child's name and go to More options > Content Filters
  3. Switch on the Filter Inappropriate Websites toggle. 
  4. To block specific websites, add their URLs under Blocked Sites
  5. To limit your child browsing specific websites, switch on the Only use allowed websites toggle. Add your list of approved URLs under Allowed sites.

Remember that the web and search filters only work with Microsoft Edge. If you turn on Filter inappropriate websites, it will block all other browsers.

Also, if you want to filter search, remember to add the URLs for search engines in the Blocked Sites section:  


How to limit screen time in Windows 10 & Xbox: 

Microsoft Family Safety allows you to limit screen time. You can set time limits for using specific apps and websites and the amount spent on their device. Plus, set limits based on a daily or weekly schedule.

  1. Head to, and sign in with your Microsoft account. 
  2. Find your child, and then select Screen time
  3. To set one schedule across all household devices, switch on Use one schedule on all devices
  4. To develop plans for individual devices:  
  5. Scroll down to Xbox consoles and Windows 10 devices. Select Turn limits on under each respective category as desired. 
  6. Select a day to set time ranges and total hours permitted for device use. 
  7. Select More. Then select Turn limits off to turn limits back off.

Require parents' permission before buying from the Microsoft Store: 

Enable Ask to Buy to prevent your child from making unauthorized purchases.

  1. Head to, and sign in with your Microsoft account. 
  2. Find your child's name, and then select More options > Spending
  3. Switch on the Needs organizer approval to buy things toggle. 
  4. Approve or deny their requests through your email by switching on the Email me when they get stuff toggle.

To simplify the experience and monitor your child's activity on your phone, download the Microsoft Family Safety app on: 

Learn more at Microsoft Family Safety.

How to set Xbox parental controls 

In many households, gaming is a popular choice for kids. It's often even more popular than online activity, so ensuring your parental controls are secure is critical.

All parental controls are identical across the Xbox family of consoles. The Xbox parental controls that you set allow your children to have appropriate video game experiences that include:

  • Time limits for games 
  • Turn-off chat for online games 
  • Restrict chat with strangers online 
  • Block games by age rating 
  • Block purchases 

Set up an Xbox family group 

An Xbox family group allows you to set parental controls for your kids. Adults set up an organizer account to manage family members. Kids have a member account that has limited permissions that organizers set. 

You should create unique Microsoft accounts for every family member, making it easier to protect your:

  • Security: Your account is less likely to be changed without your permission 
  • Finances: Less risk of accidental and unauthorized purchases

You can set parental controls for your Xbox via: 

Xbox Family Settings app 

The Xbox Family Settings app (iOS and Android) allows you to manage your children's console gaming activities via mobile. In real-time, you can: 

  • Create child accounts 
  • Enable or restrict them from adding new friends 
  • Manage their spending 
  • Pause screen time 
  • Allow or restrict online multiplayer

Learn more about parental controls at Xbox Family Settings

With parenting, one size doesn't fit all. Each family has unique goals. Parental controls and privacy settings help minimize the risks your kids face online. But, teaching your child about online safety and encouraging them to talk to you about anything they find upsetting online is crucial. Teaching critical thinking, resilience, and media literacy will help your children make good decisions and hopefully develop their own set of parental controls. 

Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.



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