Skip to main content

NewFolks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Tired of your kid buying Xbox games without asking? You need the family app

In today’s households, having a game system is almost as common as having a television set (or should we say a smart TV). And ever since the Xbox arrived on the gaming scene back in 2001, living rooms have seen a host of “tournaments” or solo sessions of Minecraft and other popular games.

Nonetheless, just like any other electronic gadget, the Xbox requires a nominal amount of parental supervision which is why Microsoft developed its family game spending limit app that tracks your child’s gaming time and other online activities on this device. Best of all, parents can also receive a notification if their child attempts to purchase a video game download without their permission. Read on to find out more about this feature.

Father and son sitting on couch holding game controllers
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The game-changer for parents

Keeping in mind the important role gaming holds in connecting family and friends and providing entertainment while being at home, Xbox launched its Family Settings app back in 2020. This move proved to be pivotal in the realm of monitoring youngsters’ activity, especially when playing on Xbox Live, and upholding the household rules for screen time. Furthermore, parents can now be notified if their child attempts to purchase a game without permission and access content that doesn’t possess an age-appropriate rating.

Basically, some of these functions have always existed, but you had to access them by logging in to Microsoft’s web portal where you’re able to adjust the settings as needed. However, this app, which is downloaded to your smartphone or iPhone, makes accessibility much easier since the parents receive notifications and can respond immediately. Some other popular features include:

  • Screen time limits, allowing parents to create and enforce a time span of how many hour(s) per day a child can play
  • Content filters, providing an opportunity to view and/or rule out what’s available to a child, all based on their age and the game’s rating
  • Settings for playing and communication, where parents can monitor the “friends” their child interacts with during their gaming
  • Activity reports, providing daily and weekly reports on what each child is playing and how much time he or she spends on the device.

Thus, the Xbox app has created an easy opportunity for any parent to maintain a good balance of gaming time that is right for the family and the children. And while many of these controls have been available, as mentioned, this app provides a very convenient way to access them, therefore making the gaming rules easier to uphold. Moreover, these functions assist parents more readily regarding safe gaming, especially on Xbox Live where they can view and approve friend requests in real-time or remove someone from the list of friends and followers.

Child playing video game sitting in between parents on phones
Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

How the family game-spending limit app stops sneaky purchases

Additionally, having these controls compiled into one handy app allows parents to be a lot more responsive to their child’s game requests. With real-time notifications for any action, parents can be sure their children are not trying to sneak around the rules and limits.

This is especially important when it comes to a couple of features. As an example, parents have the opportunity to enable single or multiplayer access to Minecraft, a game rated PEGI age seven. With a simple toggle, parents can quickly allow or prohibit children to play one of the most popular games nowadays, either alone or multiplayer online with friends.

The second feature manages the children’s spending. Any time the Ask to Buy option is initiated when your child wants to buy a game, parents get an app notification asking them if they allowed for an app or game to be purchased, as well as in-game purchases. With this feature, you’ll be able to instantly give permission for the purchase or turn it down. So, you’ll never have to worry about waiting for the arrival of the credit card statement before finding out that your child has purchased a game with inappropriate content without your permission.

As you can see, Microsoft keeps parental concerns in mind when incorporating new features into their family game spending limit apps. Furthermore, the app is quite user-friendly and allows for just enough surveillance on your children’s gaming habits without them feeling like they’re being constantly watched. At the same time, the app gives some gentle reminders about the rules for screen time and its content. And the biggest reward is the strain it saves on your wallet when you can intercept an unexpected game purchase.

Editors' Recommendations

Leslie Anderson
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Leslie Anderson is a freelance writer/writing coach from Roswell, N.M. She enjoys gardening, cooking, and helping students…
If you love Disney, these are the motivational quotes to complete your nursery decor
Decorating the nursery or redoing a bedroom? These motivational quotes for kids will fit right in
A crib with nursery decor hanging above it

Decorating a nursery for the first time, redoing a kid's room with a new theme, or wanting art added to your child's bedroom? Motivational quotes are always the way to go. If you're stuck with where to pull inspiration from, how about your kiddo's favorite Disney characters? Disney-loving families will find the perfect motivational quotes for kids to help keep their focus on the positive side of things while leaning on them as room decor.
To remind your child it's all about their attitude
A child is never too young to learn how to work out a problem on their own, and it's never too early to help them have a positive attitude when working through an issue. These Disney characters have the right attitude.
"The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem." -- Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean)
"The only way to get what you want in this world is through hard work." -- Tiana (The Princess and the Frog)
"You control your destiny -- you don’t need magic to do it. And there are no magical shortcuts to solving your problems." -- Merida (Brave)
To remind your kid they are the only one of them out there
We all think our child is the most precious creature alive. And while we are all correct, hang one of these quotes in their nursery or bedroom to remind them daily.
"Your identity is your most valuable possession. Protect it." -- Elastigirl (The Incredibles)
"I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then." -- Alice (Alice in Wonderland)

To remind them that taking a risk is always worth it
From the first step to the first day of school to the first activity they want to sign up for, every risk your child takes is worth it. Most children love risk-taking anyway, so foster that fearlessness by hanging these quotes up around their room.

Read more
Need to clean out the playroom? This is where you should donate toys
Need help on where to donate toys to tidy up your child's room? We have the local spots to go to first
A child's room that's a bit messy with toys and items all over

Between holidays, birthdays, and "just because" moments, the playroom and kids' bedrooms fill up pretty quickly with all sorts of items. If you want to declutter that toy room and get rid of the things your children no longer play with, donating will teach your kids to help others while letting you see the floor again. Instead of the places that are the usual stops for toy donations near you, try these other places first.
Local Buy Nothing group
If you don't know about your local Buy Nothing group, please look into it. It's a safe place to swap, give away, or ask for items or services completely free of charge. Sure, we'd all like to get a few bucks back from our child's toys, but if you don't want to go through that hassle, this is the best option. You don't even have to leave the house if you're more comfortable with porch pickups in your neighborhood.
Ask hospitals what they could use
Hospitals have tighter rules about what they can take, but it's never a bad idea to ask. The hospital would be the best for when you purchased something, it was the wrong size or item, and now you can't return it. Though items still in the packaging and with tags are always preferred, there are exceptions. Call and ask what your local hospital would take.
Reach out to local day cares/schools
If your children have ever gone to day care, you know how quickly they ask for donations. Day cares are open to more kinds of things, not just toys, so if you need to do a bit of an overhaul in your kids' rooms, ask your local day care facilities. The schools in your area are a great go-to, as well. Teachers always need classroom supplies, and the younger grades would need toys, books, and even clothing for when accidents happen.
Parent groups
Whether you're in a bunch of Facebook groups or are part of a group that meets in person, ask people you already know if they could use some toys your children have outgrown. You have a rapport with these other parents, and if you meet up in person, you could bring the items along and not have to make another stop.

Women's and children's centers in your area
For your donations to make a bigger impact, make sure women's and children's centers are on your list. If you were a struggling parent, you know how much it means to have a place like that to go to when in need. If you're a parent who doesn't have to struggle, pay it forward and count your blessings by donating to one.

Read more
Your favorite childhood movies will be your kid’s favorite, too
Want to rewatch your beloved childhood movies? Grab your kid and revisit these nostalgic films
A family watches TV on a couch

We all have a soft spot in our hearts for the movies we were raised on. We grew up on those films and they helped shape the adult version of ourselves more than we might want to admit. These are the childhood movies that you have to watch with your little human that will show them the value of family and friendship and that kindness is always the right choice.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Read more