What parents need to know about Xbox Live

It amazes me how many parents complain about school's blogging when they allow their kids to play Xbox live unsupervised.

Do they not know that as their eight year old boy annihilates the 40 year old at Halo 3 and enables live conversation, that it is common to hear a lot of profanity. We cannot say a cross word without getting calls from parents, and yet living gaming areas are basically unsupervised.

It floors me that myspace and facebook receive all of the complaints when I see greater risk in live gaming.

So, when Jason Fournier contacted me recently and told me that Xbox live has parental controls and then told me how to do it, I thought I would share it. It is great!

I am sharing this with permission!

There are two ways to configure your XBox 360's family controls. One has to do with offline play and one has to do with XBox Live (online play).

For off-line play, parents can change some settings, such as what ESRB rated games can be played on the 360, and then they set a password.

Anyone trying to play a game rated higher than the allowed rating must know the password to proceed. Although important for parents to know about, this isn't really the information you need to share with them. However, you might point out that they can get more info at

Configure Xbox Live Settings!

The second way parents can protect their children is by configuring
their XBox Live setting. I did some testing of this on my own console.

When you create a new XBox Live account, you are asked for your date of birth. If you are younger than 18, you must have a parent or
guardian complete your account creation. That person must enter their credit card information, and must create a Windows Live Account (formerly known as a Passport account). That account is then used to configure the parental controls for online play.

If you want to configure parental controls for XBox Live after
creating an account, you go to the System Blade of the 360 dashboard. You then choose XBox Live Controls. The 360 will check for any child accounts on the console (accounts where the date of birth makes the account owner younger than 18). If you have such an account, you can then configure the options for it. You need to know your Windows Live information to do this. The things you can configure include the following:
* whether or not your child can hear the voice of people not on
their friends list
* whether or not a child can add friends to their list without their approval
* whether or not your child can view and share their own and other people's gamer profiles

As I said in my previous email, Microsoft provides a lot of
information about configuring Parental controls on their website at
http://www.xbox.com. I think the important thing for parents to know is that they can get started either at Microsoft's website, or by going to the System blade on their XBox and choosing Family Settings and then Xbox Live Controls."

Thanks, Jason! Stop by and tell him thanks!

And remind parents, when they give that gaming console this Christmas to SET IT UP THEMSELVES!! Particularly if they are using xbox live.

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