Xbox is sharing tips for families for this holiday season and beyond.
By Kim Kunes, Managing Director, Xbox Trust & Safety
The holidays are an important time to connect and enjoy our families, and play can be the perfect activity to have fun and get together with family. Your kids can even teach you a thing or two about how to master one of their favorite games! But at Xbox, we believe it’s essential to balance gaming with time spent away from screens and know that it can often be an ongoing challenge for parents to navigate with kids.
To help you get the most out of the game during the holidays and beyond, we’ve got three tips for parents on how to manage and monitor children’s screen time.
Rely on security tools
Knowledge is key, and having visibility into what your children are playing, how much time they spend playing, and who they can play and communicate with will help reassure you. The most important tip to know is that your child should play with a child or adolescent account, depending on their age. This is an essential first step to safer gaming and includes default account settings to ensure a positive experience. To learn more about how to do this on Xbox, visit: Create a child account and add family members on Xbox | Xbox Support.
Plus, gaming consoles and PCs offer family safety tools that let you customize and manage your child’s access to games. For example, if you play with Xbox, the Xbox Family Settings app is a must-have tool for parents and caregivers. It is available for free on iOS and Android and allows parents to:
- Quickly and easily create child accounts
- Customize and update screen time limits for each day of the week
- Receive activity reports with an overview of your child’s activities
- Manage who your kids can play and communicate with
- Set age filters to block games and content that are not age-appropriate
- Receive notifications with requests to extend your child’s screen time – which you can decline or approve
- Manage and limit your expenses
… and much more, all for free and at your fingertips.
If you don’t play on Xbox, SuperParent has helpful information about security tools on other gaming platforms.
Communication and balance are essential
We’ve all gone through the familiar cycle of evaluating the appropriate screen time for our children – and that can change every week or every day!
Over the past year, children in the United States have attended school in large part thanks to a screen, which has changed the role of screens in our lives. We believe it is important for parents to take an active role in their children’s online activities by doing three important things; use advanced safety tools on devices and gaming platforms, talk to your kids about their online activities, and set clear online rules at home. To help you, here are a few ways to start the conversation:
- Ask what your child’s favorite games are, what he likes most about home and what friends he plays with; also share some of your favorite games
- Together, make a short list of tasks or important tasks to prioritize before playing
- Work with your child to make a list of game rules or screen time for your family:
- How much screen time do you and your child think is reasonable for them on a school night compared to the weekend?
- What game ratings do you and your child find appropriate for them, i.e. only games rated E for Everyone or some, but not all, games rated T for Teen
- Discuss your favorite family activities without screens
The goal of having these conversations early on is to establish a solid foundation and the right balance between gaming and screen time with your family. We believe that when you involve your child in the decision-making process, they will feel empowered to take ownership of their play time and this can help develop habits of responsible use of technology that they may have for the home. life.
Play is a way to connect and bond
Studies have shown that play can be beneficial for children’s learning in the classroom, and that playing as a family can be a great opportunity to connect with your children (so make the most of it!). Your kids will be proud that their parents can play video games with them, especially if they beat you at a game or can teach you a few tricks. Your kids can even brag about it with their friends! Take time to explore new games, challenge them, laugh and bond through this activity.
Use screen time limits in the Xbox Family Settings app to set aside appropriate time to explore a new world or work together for a challenge. Our suggestion is to start by playing your child’s favorite game together, but here are some of our favorite family games to get you started:
- “Forza Horizon 5” (Rated E). Explore Mexico’s vibrant and ever-changing open world landscapes with fun, limitless driving action in hundreds of the world’s greatest cars.
- “Madden NFL 21” (rated E). A new generation is leaving its mark in the NFL. Will you be up to it? Change the game and take control of your own heritage.
- “Minecraft Dungeons” (Rated E 10+). Fight your way through Minecraft dungeons, an action-adventure game inspired by classic dungeon crawlers and set in the Minecraft universe! Brave dungeons on your own or team up with friends!
- “Minecraft” (Rated E 10+). Minecraft is a game about placing blocks and going on adventures where you can join a community of 132 million players from all countries and territories of the world. Build anything you can imagine with unlimited resources in Creative Mode, or go on great expeditions in Survival, traveling through mysterious lands and into the depths of your own infinite worlds.
- “Sea of Thieves” (Rated T). Sea of Thieves offers the essential pirate experience, filled to the brim with navigation and exploration, combat and loot, puzzle solving and treasure hunting – everything you need to live the pirate life you always have dream. Without defined roles, you have complete freedom to approach the world and other players as you wish.
And if you’re feeling overwhelmed with how to play, or if you or your child is new to using a controller, fear not! The Copilot feature on Xbox lets you use two controllers as one and is a great way to work together.
Most importantly, each family will have their own unique guidelines for the game in their life; what’s good for one family may not work for yours, and that’s okay. We hope that during this holiday season and beyond, your family can have some quality time together through the games you love.
To learn more about the Xbox Family Settings app, please click here.
Kim Kunes is the general manager of the Xbox Family, Trust, and Safety team. His team is focused on investing in technology and functionality to give our players the peace of mind knowing they are safe and can bring their friends and family to our community. As the hub of security interests for the Xbox team, their team is also responsible for working within Microsoft to uphold and ensure consistent security standards that apply to all Microsoft consumer experiences.
Top image © Ruth Black / Adobe Stock