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.

tag: , , , , , , , ,

Never miss an episode

Get the 10-minute Teacher Show delivered to your inbox.

Powered by ConvertKit
Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

All Posts »


Steve November 2, 2007 - 12:04 pm

I”m an avid XBox player and I have to admit that I didn’t know about those! In terms of XBox Live though, part of the fun is meeting new people and grouping up with people I’ve just played with. I’d imagine the same is true for kids. I wonder how your students would feel if they weren’t allowed to add new people to their friends list without parent approval first. I think about 10 people of the 40 or 50 people on my friends list are people I actually know!

Interesting though. Would love to hear some kids opinions on this one.

Vicki A. Davis December 2, 2007 - 11:27 pm

I do moderate my comments and do not allow profanity, however, I respect the right of people to make constructive criticism.

I am paraphrasing a comment from a person named “I WILL KILL U”

This is the paraphrase of his expletive laden comment. I put it here so that I may respond. The italicized words are the one’s I’ve paraphrased. I will respond in the next comment.

“I hate people like you who deny free speech and other freedoms to minors.”

He then goes on to say something I will not repeat and definitely hurt my feelings.

Vicki A. Davis December 2, 2007 - 11:34 pm


Firstly, I do respect the rights of minors to have free speech. I do not give ANYONE the right to use profanity on my blog, however.

It sounds as if you are angry at something in your own life and perhaps not at me? I actually encourage the use of social networking and have my students blog publicly. We even use myspace and facebook in my classroom… I would call that a teacher who allows free speech.

As for your actions on my blog, you need to remember that you are responsible for what you do on your computer. There is something called IP logging and comments on my blog (and any blog) copy the IP address.

Should you be serious in your expletive comments to me, the GBI and others can quite easily track you and determine who you are. You need to learn that you are accountable for what you say and what you said to me was inexcusable and offensive.

Your comments to me were nothing short of a death threat, “I will kill u” and I suggest that you think twice before acting in such ways.

I am sorry that you feel that I have denied anyone free speech, however the simple fact that I paraphrased your comments did allow you to speak out while putting in the G rating I have on my website as a teacher.

If you do not like me, it is your right. I do not deny anyone the right of free speech, however, you should not deny a person the right to feel safe.

You are wrong in your actions and if you act like this in many places that you go, you will no doubt go down a path which you do not wish to go.

I enjoy xbox and at some point when my kids are old enough (uhm mine are not teenagers yet), we will move into xbox live, but not yet.

Think twice before writing anything even when you think you’re anonymous.

Jay August 6, 2008 - 2:57 pm

Please consider expanding this into a full blown discussion. I have had a tough time with the parental controls, but I don’t know if that is just because of the tech people I have spoken with or not. My impression is that your child has access to your credit card information and Microsoft expects you as the parent to enforce the right behaviors from your child and not their system. Because of this, we are no longer subscribers. I would not give copies of my credit cards to my children or my debit card and though I have every intention of raising them to be responsible and loving children, this does not make sense to me. We kept finding either the limits were too restrictive so he couldn’t create a custom gaming environment or something (gold account activities) or else he could shop with my credit card at marketplace with just a few clicks. I am hoping there is a bit more clarification of these issues. I don’t use the XBOX and he does but I would prefer to not “monitor his use” (a phrase I saw in some googling of this topic) I do have other things to do in life as opposed to supervising all of his gaming time so parental controls seems like a super option but if there are drawbacks maybe there are workarounds. For now, live is not an option for me.

Comments are closed.

The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere
Update Required Flash plugin