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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.

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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…
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