As more kids flock to online gaming with the meteoric rise of popular games such as "Fortnite" and "Playerunknown's Battlegrounds" joining longtime favorites such as the "Call of Duty" series and others, Microsoft is upping the ante when it comes to internet safety.
Participating with Safer Internet Day, a worldwide event aimed at bringing awareness to safe online practices, Microsoft is calling attention to its efforts to keep young people safe when gaming and/or browsing the internet. Dave McCarthy, Corporate Vice President of Xbox Operations, wrote in his blog today: "Gamers are at the center of everything we do, and we believe everyone has the right to create, play and enjoy the games they want to play, with the people they want to play with, on the devices they choose, without the fear of being a target of harassment or threats. That is why over the past 15 years, we have worked to develop industry-leading controls and tools to support safe and fun gaming."
Parents of young gamers who play online via Xbox Live have a handful of options to manage their child's online experience including privacy settings, content filters, purchase limits and screen time management.
Using these features is a snap, and the first step is to set up a child account at account.microsoft.com or through the Xbox One console itself.
"It's now easier than ever to set up a child account on Xbox One; parents or caregivers just need to add their e-signature to provide consent for their child to have a Microsoft account, no credit cards required for verification or a second device," writes McCarthy.
The safety settings work across Microsoft's platforms including Windows 10 and Microsoft Launcher for Android as well as Xbox Live.
In another blog post, Microsoft's Family Audience Product and Strategy Lead, Mouna Sidi Hida, offered helpful tips for parents to help their kids navigate the world of internet browsing and online gaming.
"Have an open dialog with your children about expectations and appropriate digital behavior," writes Hida. "While there are tons of tools and apps available to track your child's behavior or monitor their every move, there is a lot to be said for using digital time as a learning opportunity. I always encourage people to sit down with their kids and talk about what is expected of them, what is good and bad online, and to discuss what the appropriate guardrails are going to be before you set them up."
For more on Safer Internet Day, please visit the event's official website.