You may have heard of Parental Controls apps that give parents access to kids’ phones and monitor their activity in the background. One such app is Microsoft Family Safety, also known as Microsoft parental controls, and if you are looking to discover its features & how to set it up, you have come to the right place.
So, keep reading if you wanna know more.
What do you need to know about Microsoft parental controls?
Microsoft parental controls have been around since 2006, but those features were just made for PC Windows. Recently in 2020, Microsoft released their parental apps for mobiles on both Google Play Store & Apple App Store.
Microsoft parental app is known by the name “Microsoft Family Safety.” And by using this software, you can keep an eye on & limit your kid’s activity on Windows, Xbox, and mobile. You can also track your kid’s location and much more using Microsoft parental features and the details of which are given in the next heading.
How can Microsoft parental controls help parents?
These days every website has 18+ content-related or adult ads showing on them; either way, your kids will see them and fall into bad habits at an early age, which will destroy their social, study, and earning life.
Internet is necessary for your kid’s growth, but a parent can’t always be there to tell kids which sites are good and which aren’t. But don’t worry, that is where Microsoft Family Safety comes in, and by using it, you can block some specific websites( like Facebook), 18+ websites, or allow only a few websites, etc.
Microsoft Family Safety “Content Filter” works on various operating platforms like Windows, Xbox, iOS, & Android, but it will only work with Microsoft Edge and fail on other browsers.
If you have bought your kids their first bike/car and your kids are rash drivers who have been into accidents earlier, or you worry they might be, then the Microsoft driving habit feature can help you, and by using it, you can see online from your mobile;
- Max speed
- Hard breakings
- Your kid’s route location step-by-step
- How many times phone is it used during driving
- Number of times your kid fast accelerated a vehicle
All this data can help parents monitor their kids’ driving and scold them with proof if they do something bad.
If you are looking for location-tracking software to help you keep an eye on every step of your kids when they go to school or alone at home, then the Microsoft Family Safety app can help you.
Microsoft Family Safety app is designed for parents who are always at work and don’t have time to drop off/pick up their kids from school. Installing this app on your kids’ devices ensures they arrive at school/home on time and don’t go anywhere else.
This app will also help you to ensure that your kids go to the same place they got permission from you to go to, like a park, friend’s house, market, etc. And if your kids move out of a specific set area, you will get a notification instantly so you can take action if they are being kidnapped or misguided by a bad friend.
Limit apps & games
These days kids spend most of their time on addicting games like Pubg, and getting them to study, eat with family, or ask them for work is very hard. But the Microsoft Family Safety app can help parent to keep their kids in line.
Microsoft Parental Controls help parents block and allow specific Games/Apps on their kids’ devices and limit the amount of time their kids can spend each day on games. These restrictions will help your kids study better, sleep on time, get on the dinner table, etc.
Control money spending
One of the most sincere features of Microsoft is that it allows parents to limit their kids spending on Games, Apps, and items from their Microsoft Store.
Microsoft allows you to allot a specific amount of money to each kid, and your kids will need to ask for your permission before every purchase. In this way, you can prepare your kids to spend money well from an early age, as well as save hundreds of dollars from getting wasted, especially accidentally.
Microsoft parental controls the “money spending” feature and also views a complete history of every purchase your kids have made so you can inquire your kids if anything looks suspicious.
Screen time management
The most important feature which any parent wants is the “Screen Time Limiter” because using this function, a parent can set how many hours kids can use their devices. When a certain set limit is reached, a parent can fix to give a reminder or turn-off the devices automatically.
Screen Time Limiter feature is present in all companies’ Parental Controls apps, but the Microsoft app has one benefit that once you set a time limit, it will apply across all devices like mobiles, laptops, & Xbox at once, and once a limit it reaches, all devices will turn-off; your kids can’t switch to other devices like from a mobile to a PC, to fool the app & parents.
Last but not least, Microsoft Family Safety parental controls also have a feature that allows you to see a usage summary day-by-day or month-by-month. In this summary report, everything is included, like;
- Websites your kids search for or visit
- Hours your kids spend on apps & games
- The location they visited, and much more.
Microsoft will send you weekly reports by e-mail, but you can also see the details directly in the Family Safety app. These Activity reports can help parents to have a healthy discussion with their kids about their time and let them build a managed plan for the future.
How to set up Microsoft Family Safety parental controls?
Using Microsoft Family Safety is not that difficult. First of all, you need to do below initial setup;
- Install the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
- Make an account and Log in to your Parent Microsoft app & Child Microsoft app from your respective phones.
- Then send an e-mail request to your kid from the parent Microsoft Family Safety app, and then on your kid’s phone, accept the request.
- Now, the Microsoft Family Safety app will ask for many permissions both on kids’ and parents’ phones; just allow them all.
- At last, install Microsoft Edge on your kid’s phone and log in with your kid’s email in it.
And then you can follow the below procedures to set up various Parental Control features;
Set up website filter
“Microsoft Family Safety app can help you set a safe filter for everything your kid searches for; the Microsoft filter feature hides adult & harmful content. “
- Open the Microsoft Family Safety App on the parent mobile.
- Now select the kid’s profile that you want to manage > in the next menu, swipe all the way down and press on “Content Filters” > then select the 2nd option, “Web and search filters for Edge.”
3. In the next window, switch on the main “Web and search filters option,” and from now on, your kid will not be able to see adults or harmful content on the Microsoft Edge browser.
4. If you want to only allow a specific website, then click on the 2nd option, “Only use allowed websites” > then swipe down and add the website link which you will allow your kids to see.
5. If you want to block a specific website, then go all the way down and add websites under the Blocked Sites option.
It must be noted that the Microsoft Website filter only works with Microsoft Edge Browser, and it will fail to function with any other browser like Chrome, Firefox, etc.
It is critical to note that the Microsoft Family Safety app block all other browsers automatically, and your kid will only be allowed to use them if a parent gives their permission, but in that case, when using other browsers, neither filter nor history parental control feature will work.
Set up location tracking
- On your Kid’s mobile, open Microsoft Parental App, Click on 3 bars on the top left side > Select Settings > then press on the Location Sharing option and make sure it’s switched on.
2. Now, on the Parent phone, open the Family Safety app > click on the Maps option > and you can see your kid’s real-time location on the Virtual Map.
3. If you want to set a notification when your kids arrive/leave a certain place, click “Add a Place” ( just below the Virtual Map ) and then type the place address & name; finally, save it.
How to see driving reports
The driving reports feature is not free in the Microsoft Family Safety app, and you must pay a monthly fee to use it. You can set it up by following the below guide:
- On the Parent Mobile Microsoft app > select the Map option.
2. Now, Choose to see at the bottom and choose the Drive option. Then, a list of all the Drives will appear; select which you want to see in detail.
Set up apps & games limits
- Go to your Parent Family Safe App > click on the kid’s profile on which you want to apply limits. > In the next menu, swipe all the way down and Choose the last option, “Content Filters,” > and then choose the 1st option, “Apps and Games.”
2. In the new window, click on “App and games” and select the age limit to which you want to apply from 3 to any age.
3. Now, go back to the main profile menu and choose the second option, “App and Games,” and when you enter this option, switch it on.
4. Now, for each app, individual time limits settings, simply click on your desired app, then choose the “Set Time Limits” option from the bottom, and then;
- Click on the 1st option, “Everyday,” and choose the days to which these limits apply.
- Then move the bar below to set how much time your kid will be able to use this specific app.
- Finally, In case you want to set a timetable, for example, your kid will only be able to use the app from 8 am to 2 pm, then click on “Add a Schedule” and input the time range.
5. If you want to block a specific app, then choose the app which you want to block from the App and Games menu and press on the “Block app” option, which should be at the bottom.
Set up money spending limits
- Choose your kid’s profile in the Parent mobile Microsoft Family Safety app.
- Now, swipe down and select “Spending.”
3. In the next window;
- Choose “Microsoft Account Balance” if you want to add some money to your kid’s account. But in this case, they will not need your permission to spend this money below the set age limit value.
- If you want to control every purchase on your kid’s account, then Add a Credit Card and switch on the Approval option so your kid will need to get your permission before every purchase.
Set up screen time restrictions
- Go tour your Kid’s profile on the parent mobile Family Safety app and choose the 1st option, “Screen Time.”
2. Now, ensure that you choose the “Devices” option from the top > and that the “Share limits actress all devices” function is switched on.
3. Now, click on the “All Devices” option, and you will see days with their Daily Time limits and Available Times settings, which you can set according to your preferences.
See activity reports
- Go to the parent mobile and launch the Microsoft Family Safety app.
- Click on your kid’s phone, and then at the top, you will see 2-options which are;
- Today: choose this if you want to see current-day details.
- Last 7-Days: Choose this if you want to get a summary to report of the last 7 days.
How to disable Microsoft parental controls?
When it comes to deactivating or deleting Microsoft Family Safety features on the kid’s phone, there is no password or permission protection of any kind, and anybody can do it in less than a minute by following the below procedure;
- On the kid’s phone, launch the Family Safety app.
- Then click on the 3 bar icon, and from the left window list, choose “Settings.”
- In the next window, swipe all the way down and choose either “Sign out” or “Delete Account.” No matter what you choose, all the Microsoft Parental Control features will be deactivated on your kid’s phone.
As you can see in the above video, disabling parental controls of Microsoft is so easy, and your kids can do it anytime, which makes Microsoft very unsafe & unreliable.
Flashget Parental Control does more for kids?
“Flashget Parental Control is a third-party app designed for parents so they can watch & control their kids’ mobiles.”
Both FlashCast and Microsoft are parental control apps, but Flashget Parental Control is much more advance and reliable. Below is a comparison of these apps’ features, so you can easily choose which one is best for you;
|Microsoft Family Safety
|FlashCast Parental Controls app
|Apps Usage Limiter
|Daily Activity Reports
|Remote Camera Access
|Remote Microphone Access
|Hidden App icon in kid’s phone
|See Kids Phone Apps Notifications
|Remote Screen Mirroring of kids’ phones
|Password required to remove Parental features
|Restrict New Apps from Installation
It goes without saying that Microsoft Family Safety is reliable and has many useful features, but it also has many demerits, which makes it the worst parental control app ever made. For example;
❌ No deletion protection: Microsoft Family Safety has no protection against account logging out or deletion, which means your kids can remove them from their mobile at any second without your permission, and when you need this app, it will not work.
❌ Location tracking failure: The 2nd lousy point of the Microsoft parental app is that its location tracking feature does not work correctly and shows errors most of the time. And worst of all, your kids can disable location tracking from their mobile Microsoft app without any need for your permission.
❌ No social media monitoring: You know, these days, kids use Snapchat, Facebook, and other social apps for messaging, which are nearly untraceable. However, there are some apps out there, like Flashget Parental Control, which offer real-time tracking of notifications and screen mirroring of messages, while Microsoft Family Safety doesn’t allow monitoring of any social media apps in any way.
❌ No advance features: Microsoft Family Safety also lacks many other advanced features which other third-party parental control apps are offering. For example, the Flashget Parental Control app allows you can worldwide to access your kid’s phone camera & microphone from your phone, while Famisafe offers advanced AI web filtering and auto-saves all browser history and so on.
In short, no matter whether you look at Microsoft Family Safety, it is not as reliable and advanced as third-party apps in the market like Flashget Parental Control