Xbox consoles are awesome for kids, but making sure they stay safe online should always be the number one priority.

Thankfully, Microsoft and Xbox provide some incredible tools to help control and monitor your kid's experiences on Xbox Live, which can be a little chaotic at times.

Here are some tips and tricks for getting the most out of Xbox for parents and those of us buying consoles for younger relatives!

Unbox and update it before the big day!

First thing's first, you'll need to update that Xbox One! Providing the child in question won't mind, I highly advise anyone buying Xbox consoles this year to carefully remove it from the box and connect it to your home internet, following the instructions bundled in the box.

The Xbox One has been continuously updated since launch, and the unit you receive might not be fully up to date. The patches can be gigabytes in size, and give your new console tons of extra features, but it can take a long time to update and install, especially if you're on a slower connection.

To make sure the day isn't spoiled by long update times, consider setting it up early, then re-boxing it after the updates are complete.

Set up Microsoft Accounts for you and the lucky kid!

To ensure you're ready to go on Xbox Live, make sure you create a Microsoft Account for you and your child. If you have an Xbox 360 account, an Outlook.com account or a Hotmail.com account, you already have a Microsoft Account ready to go. Follow the steps below for a guide on how to set-up a new child under your Microsoft Account.

  1. Navigate to the Microsoft Account Family Center using this link.
  2. Sign in using your Microsoft Account that you intend to use on your Xbox.
  3. Select Add a Child and sign in using their email address. Note: You can create a Microsoft Account for your child at this link.

  4. Once added, you can now customize their experience across the Windows 10 device family. From here, you can place various restrictions to tailor their experience on Xbox and Windows 10.
    • Select Activity Reporting to be sent emails detailing how your child uses their Xbox and other Windows 10 devices.
    • Select Web Browsing to blanket block all adult websites in Microsoft Edge, or go even further and allow only specific websites to work.
    • Select Apps, Games & Media to tailor what age rated content your child has access to.
    • Select Screen Time to schedule and limit the amount of time your child can spend with their devices.
    • Select Purchase & Spending to add credit to your child's account so that they can spend it on approved content on Windows 10 and Xbox.
    • Select Find Your Child to track the location of a Windows 10 Mobile device connected to their account.

Set up an Xbox Profile for your child

Before we can customize your child's experience on Xbox Live's social features, you will need to sign in to your new Xbox console as the parent.

When booting up your console for the first time, it will prompt you for your email and password, create a Gamertag for you, and you'll be ready to go. In case you didn't know, Gamertags are your username on Xbox Live. You can use this username to share an anonymized identity online, which is ideal for youngsters on the network. To get your child signed into your new Xbox console, follow these steps.

  1. Double-tap on the Xbox button at the top-center of your controller to open the Guide menu.
  2. Navigate with left joystick down to the cogwheel icon.

  3. Navigate to and select All settings with the A button.

    Note: "A" on the Xbox controller is near-universally considered the select button, whereas "B" will take you backwards to the previous option if you make a mistake.

  4. Select Family under the Account section.
  5. Select Add to Family
  6. Select Add New.
  7. Sign in with your child's Microsoft Account and password. You will then be prompted to sign in as the parent.
  8. Sign in with your Microsoft account and password.

    Once the parent account has been signed in, your child will be designated a random Gamertag and offered security settings:

    • No barriers allows anyone to sign in as the child, which might be less ideal in scenarios with multiple children sharing the same Xbox.
    • Ask for my passkey allows a child to set up a 6-figure code for buying things and changing settings. Parents still have ultimate control.
    • Lock it down allows the child to require their Microsoft Account password for signing in, changing settings and spending Xbox credit.
  9. Once you have selected security settings, Microsoft offers some information about Gamerpics and Gamertags, before allowing your child to customize their Xbox's accent color.
  10. You will then be offered the option of purchasing Xbox Live Gold, which is required for online play, receiving discounts, in addition to four free games per month. You can also decline.

    Note: Only one signed-in user needs an Xbox Live Gold subscription for everybody on that Xbox to enjoy the benefits. It's probably best to manage this on your own parental account.

  11. The child can now sign-in by double-tapping the Xbox button to open the Guide,** and moving to the top to the Sign-in menu.
  12. Select the child's profile with the "A" button to sign in.

Before creating their Gamertag, let's switch back into your parent account to double-check that your child's privacy and access settings have been correctly configured.

Customize your child's Xbox privacy and content restriction settings

Your child's Microsoft Account will sync settings that you've set up previously on the web in the first section, and if you need to make further changes, you can do it either via your Xbox One or via the Microsoft Account Family settings found here. Be sure to bookmark it!

Alternatively, follow the steps below for information on how to customize your child's experience on Xbox Live.

  1. Sign in with your parental Microsoft Account (if you're already signed in, skip to Step 5).
  2. To do this, double-tap on the Xbox button at the top-center of your controller to open the Guide menu.
  3. Navigate to the sign-in menu at the top using the left joystick.
  4. Select your profile with the "A" button, then hit Switch profile.
  5. Double tap the Xbox button to open the Guide menu.
  6. Select the Settings cogwheel at the bottom of the screen
  7. Select All Settings.
  8. Select Family under the Account page.

  9. Select the child whose settings you wish to customize.
  10. From here, you can cycle through various menus to fully customize what your child can do on their Xbox.
    • Select Privacy & Online Safety then Xbox Live privacy to choose between Child, Teen, and Adult presets. The Child setting blocks non-friends from contacting the user and friend requests must be approved by the parent. Teens can choose who they contact, while Adults have full access. Each setting gives more detail over what they do, but you can go nuclear by selecting View & Customize, giving you access to various new menus for blocking different Xbox Live features.
    • Select App privacy to tailor what permissions apps have over your child's content on Windows 10 devices.
    • From the main Privacy & Online Safety settings menu, select Access to content to decide what age-rated content your child can access.
    • Select Web filtering to choose what websites children can access on Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 devices they are signed in to. You can further tailor these settings on the Microsoft Account Family settings page online.

Once you're happy with your child's privacy settings, it's time to move on to the next section and give them a Gamertag and a Gamerpic!

Create a Gamertag and set up a Gamerpic!

With the boring stuff out of the way, you should encourage your child to select a Gamerpic and Gamertag of their own on the system. Depending on the privacy settings you've tailored above, the Gamertag will be used as their method for connecting with friends and sharing content on Xbox Live. The first change is free, but subsequent Gamertag changes cost money, so choose wisely!

  1. Sign in with your parental Microsoft Account (if you're already signed in, skip to Step 5).
  2. To do this, double-tap on the Xbox button at the top-center of your controller to open the Guide menu.
  3. Navigate to the sign-in menu at the top using the left joystick.
  4. Select your profile with the "A" button, then hit Switch profile.
  5. Double tap the Xbox button to open the Guide menu.
  6. Select My Profile.
  7. Select Customize Profile.
  8. Select your child's randomly generated Gamertag to create a new one.
  9. From this menu, you can also edit:
    • Your location.
    • A brief biographical description.
    • Your Xbox color.
    • You can also create a 3D Avatar and select a Gamerpic.

Note: You can return to this page at any time to change these settings.

Updating a Gamertag and Gamerpic!

Further Information

For more information on how to use your Xbox One, refer to the guides below! Additionally, if you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments and I will try and answer them for you.