What is Microsoft Family? Microsoft Family Safety for Android Microsoft family features (includes family safety features formerly known as Microsoft Family Safety, formerly Parental Controls in Windows 7 and Vista) is a free set of features available on Windows 10 PC and Mobile that is bundled with the Windows 10, Home edition operating system. On July 17, 2020, Microsoft released Microsoft Family Safety on Google Play and App Store (iOS) as well.
Starting in Windows 10, a Microsoft Account is required to use the Microsoft family features. A parent can manage settings for a child if both of their Microsoft Accounts are in the same family. When parents turn on settings for their child, these settings are applied to every device that the child logs into with that Microsoft Account.
Other changes to family safety features in Windows 10 include Windows Store purchase controls and the ability to find a child’s Windows 10 Mobile device on a map.
What is Microsoft Family?
If you have a family, then it makes perfect sense you’d want to protect your children online in every way. In this case, Microsoft’s Family Safety will be of huge help.
It’s a unique tool available for all Microsoft users which works by limiting your online or offline interaction on all your Microsoft devices, helping plan shared tasks, and all the more. Best of all, you can get started for free on the Microsoft Family Safety website.
Let’s look at the features that make Microsoft Family Safety possible, one by one.
Learning All About Microsoft Family Safety
Family Safety is Microsoft’s attempt to help you take back control of how your family enjoys or uses different Microsoft products. With a little effort and understanding, you, too, can limit how you or your family members interact with the internet through their Microsoft products, and use technology in a more healthy, efficient manner.
How to Use the Microsoft Family Safety App
The Microsoft Family Safety app is Microsoft’s answer to Google’s Family Link app. It provides insights into how your child is using their phone, their location, and even lets you set time limits on app use and game time.
Using Microsoft Family Safety has a few prerequisites. You need to have a Microsoft Family Group, your child needs to have Microsoft Launcher and Edge installed on their phone, and you need to add your child as a member of your family group.
- To get started, visit the Microsoft Family Safety page. If you haven’t signed in with your Microsoft account yet, you’ll be prompted to. Then you can select Create a family group to get started.
- To create your family group for the first time, you’ll need to answer a few questions, such as your region, how many children you have in the family, and their ages.
- When you’re logged into your Microsoft account, select the Add a member link in the Family section to start adding family members to the group.
- You’ll be prompted to add a new family member to your group. If you’re adding a spouse, select Organizer. If you’re adding a child, select Member. Enter the email address, the correct Captcha code, and select Send invite.
- When the child account is first added, you’ll need to configure what organizers in your Microsoft Family Group can see. Under your Child’s account, select Manage permissions. Enable organizer permissions under all sections.
- Your child should receive an email with the invite to the Microsoft Family Group. Have them open the email and select Join Now.
- Once your child has joined the group, they’ll also need to install the Microsoft Launcher app onto their phone so that you can track their location. Currently, this app is only available for Android. Help your child go into the app permissions for the Microsoft Launcher app and enable at least the Location setting.
- You’ll need to give the Microsoft Safety Family app some time to sync with the Microsoft Launcher app before you’ll see all of the menus appear.
Monitoring Mobile Usage With Microsoft Family Safety
Once the Microsoft Family Safety group is synced, there are a lot of things you can see and control on your child’s mobile device.
- The Activity tab is where you can access all of the settings on one page. This is also where you can enable or disable overall monitoring. One of the first things you should do is enable Activity reporting, as well as Email weekly reports to me if you’d like to receive email updates about their mobile usage.
- The Screen time tab is where you can control at what time of day your child is allowed to use their devices. Currently, these settings are only for Windows 10 or Xbox devices and not mobile phones.
- App and game limits is where you can either block the child from using certain apps, or you can set a time range when they’re allowed to use them.
- Content restrictions lets you manage what kind of content or apps your child is allowed to access based on age limit.
- Toward the bottom of this page you can either always block or always allow specific websites as well, regardless of the browser your child is using.
- On the Spending page you can require your child to ask permission if they ever want to buy an app from the Microsoft Store. You can also add money to their Microsoft account balance.
- One of the coolest features in Microsoft Family Safety is the Find your child page. On this page, you’ll see the current location of your child.
Microsoft Family Safety for Android
If your child has an Android phone, the Microsoft Family Safety app, because it’s less intrusive, is a useful alternative to other parental control apps.
Keep in mind, however, that using Microsoft Family Safety requires your child to willingly join your Microsoft Family Safety group, and keep the required apps installed. So make sure to talk with your child before setting everything up so that everyone is on the same page regarding appropriate use of mobile devices.
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