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Parental controls for the Xbox 360

As parents, we are often ambivalent when it comes to installing parental controls. We know that it’s probably the first thing we should do when we hand over a new device to our kids but it rarely happens that way. Part of the problem is that we think our kids are smarter than we are and they will easily find a way around any safeguards; but it’s also because we think that setting up parental controls is too complicated and we won’t have the patience or the know-how to do the job right.

Fortunately, there are a few devices that make it easy to set up parental controls and one of those is the Xbox 360.

The Xbox 360 has always featured a strong set of parental controls, but Microsoft used the 2010 launch of the best-selling Kinect for Xbox 360 motion controller as an opportunity to update those controls and introduce easy step-by-step instructions. As well as incorporating parental controls into the initial set-up of the Xbox 360, Microsoft also published a simple 10-step Guide, which outlines all the safety features that are available to parents and caregivers.

Tips and advice include everything from making sure there is enough room to enjoy the Xbox 360 experience to setting up family timers and secret pass codes. Under Family Settings, parents can control access to games based on their ESRB ratings, control access to certain movies and TV shows, and even block access to Xbox LIVE.

If you do decide to let your children use Xbox LIVE, there are also online safety settings which allow you to control activities such as voice and text chat, video communication, and what content can be accessed or downloaded. Intelligent default settings automatically assign Child, Teen or Adult profiles based on age, but everything is customizable, allowing parents to make safety decisions based on their own family’s particular needs.

Kinect parental controls also allow parents to block or customize some of the Kinect “sharing” features, including the ability to upload pictures to social media sites and video chat or text during games.

While Microsoft encourages parents to talk to their kids about safety issues, they realize that sometimes a conversation is not enough. Xbox 360 parental controls make it easy for parents to do the right thing and create a safe and secure digital entertainment environment for their kids.

To get a printable copy of the 10-step Guide and to discover numerous other helpful hints on age-appropriate gaming and online safety, please visit GetGameSmart.com.

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