XBox X is the latest console from Microsoft. With it, you can play video games, stream content from apps, chat with other players via X Box Live, surf the web, and even watch TV (if you have a cable box to connect it to).

Setting parental controls on the Xbox X is a somewhat complex process, but it’s worth it for the level of control you’ll have for each child in your family. If you allow your children to stream content from various apps such as Hulu while on the device, the parental controls on the gaming console will override any parental controls you have set up on the individual apps, in most cases.

Microsoft Family Safety App

The Microsoft Family Safety app allows parents to set screen time limits on all Microsoft-affiliated devices, including Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox X, Microsoft Surface, Windows 10 devices, Windows 7 devices, and Windows Vista devices. Parents can use the app to create search filters and block mature content. The app also has built-in location sharing so you can track family members. To use it, you’ll need to create or already have a Microsoft login (they’re free).

How to add a child to your Microsoft Family account

  1. Visit account.microsoft.com/family.
  2. Sign in with your personal Microsoft account and then select Add a Family Member.
  3. Select Child.
  4. Enter your child’s email address or phone number and select Send Invite.
  5. Make sure your child accepts your invitation.

Screen Time Limits

To set screen time limits for your child on Xbox X and Windows 10 devices, go to https://account.microsoft.com/family and sign in with your Microsoft account. Then:

  1. Find your child’s name and select Screen time.
  2. If you want to use the same schedule for all devices, switch Use one screen time schedule from Off to On. If you’d rather have separate schedules, scroll down and switch screen time on for PC and Xbox X individually.
  3. Set how much time your child is allowed to spend with their devices each day, and when they can use them. If you want to give them the full amount of time you’ve scheduled, select Max scheduled. (Example: If you’ve allowed screen time from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., they could use their devices that entire time).

How to set app and game limits across your child’s devices

If your child is spending too much time on certain apps or games, you can set limits on that app or game to help them achieve a healthy balance. App and game limits are available on Windows 10 and Xbox X devices, along with Android devices with Microsoft Launcher installed. Once you set a limit, that limit will work across all of their devices. (For example, if you give them three hours on YouTube, they can spend a total of three hours on Windows 10, Xbox X, and Android.)

To set app and game limits, go to family.microsoft.com and sign in with your Microsoft account. Then:

  1. Find your child’s name and select App and Game Limits. (App and game limits aren’t available on adult accounts at this time.)
  2. Find the app or game you want to set limits on. If you’ve never set limits, it’ll show how often they use the app or game on average.
  3. Set how much time your child is allowed to spend on the app or game each day, and when they’re allowed to use it.

To give your kids a heads up on Xbox when their screen time is running out:

  1. Press the Xbox button on the controller.
  2. Select System > Settings  > Preferences > Notifications > Xbox Notifications > System and make sure System notifications on is selected.

Screen time counts down when a child is signed in, so if they’re not actively using their console, have them sign out.

Age Limits for Accessing Content

To ensure your kids have access to only family-friendly games, apps, TV shows, and movies on their Xbox X, you can choose from preset recommendations by age. To do this:

  1. Press the Xbox button to open the guide, and then go to System > Settings > Account > Family settings.
  2. Select Manage family members, and then select the child account you want to update.
  3. Under Access to content, choose the desired age-level restriction. (By default, your child’s restrictions will be set to the age associated with their Microsoft account).

When your child asks to use a blocked app or game that’s rated above their content restrictions, you can approve it by signing in with your passkey and selecting Always or Just this once.

Customize Privacy Settings

You can prevent your child from playing with strangers in the privacy settings. To ensure that your child is only playing with people they know or to turn off voice chat and unprompted communications:

  1. Click Settings.
  2. Click All Settings.
  3. Click Account.
  4. Click Family.
  5. Customize your privacy settings.

Mute or Block Players

If you don’t want to hear or be contacted by specific players on Xbox X, you can mute them or block their communications with you. If you believe that the player has violated the Microsoft Services Agreement or Code of Conduct, you may also wish to file a complaint.

Mute another player

If another player engages in abusive or inappropriate in-game or chat voice communications, you can mute that player. This prevents them from speaking to you in-game or in a chat session. To mute another player:

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide.
  2. Select People, and then select the gamertag of the player you want to mute. If the player is not on your friends list, select Recent players or Find someone and enter the player’s gamertag to search.
  3. From the player’s profile, select Mute.

To unmute a player, follow the same steps to get to the player’s profile, and then select Unmute.

Block another player

Blocking another player prevents you from receiving that player’s messages, game invites, and party invites. It also prevents the player from seeing your online activity and removes them from your friends list, if they were on it. To block another player:

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide.
  2. Select People, and then select the gamertag of the player you want to block. If the player is not on your friends list, select Recent players or Find someone and enter the player’s gamertag to search.
  3. From the player’s profile, select Report or Block, and then select Block.

To unblock a player, follow the same steps to get to the player’s profile, and then select Unblock.

Block another player’s messages

You can also block a player after receiving an offensive or inappropriate message. Here’s how:

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide, and then go to Communication > Conversations.
  2. Select the message from the player you want to block.
  3. Select More > View profile > Report or block > Block.

Copilot on Xbox X

Copilot links two controllers so you can use them as if they were one controller. The person who turns on Copilot for their controller is the pilot, and the pilot gets all achievements and gamerscore. To turn on Copilot:

  1. Connect a second controller to the Xbox for the copilot. The copilot can sign in or not — achievements and gamerscore don’t go to this player.
  2. Using the pilot’s controller, press the Xbox button to open the guide, then select System > Settings > Ease of Access > Controller.
  3. Choose Copilot settings, then select Turn on Copilot.
  4. Select the copilot controller.

The controllers are now linked, and both controllers have full control. When you start a game, you can use either controller however you like.

To turn off Copilot, go back to the Copilot settings and select Turn off Copilot.

Preventing Unauthorized Purchases

To help prevent unauthorized purchases from your console, you can set it to ask for the password every time you buy something.

  1. Select System > Settings > Account > Sign-in, security & passkey. To help protect your account, you may be asked to enter your password.
  2. Select Change my sign-in & security preferences.
  3. Scroll right and select Customize.
  4. Scroll right and select Ask for my passkey to make purchases.
  5. Select Passkey required.

XBox One is the latest console from Microsoft. With it, you can play video games, stream content from apps, chat with other players via XBox Live, surf the web, and even watch TV (if you have a cable box to connect it to).

Setting parental controls on the XBox One is a somewhat complex process, but it’s worth it for the level of control you’ll have for each child in your family. If you allow your children to stream content from various apps such as Hulu while on the device, the parental controls on the gaming console will override any parental controls you have set up on the individual apps, in most cases.

Screen Time Limits

To set screen time limits for your child on Xbox One and Windows 10 devices, go to https://account.microsoft.com/family and sign in with your Microsoft account. Then:

  1. Find your child’s name and select Screen time.
  2. If you want to use the same schedule for all devices, switch Use one screen time schedule from Off to On. If you’d rather have separate schedules, scroll down and switch screen time on for PC and Xbox One individually.
  3. Set how much time your child is allowed to spend with their devices each day, and when they can use them. If you want to give them the full amount of time you’ve scheduled, select Max scheduled. (Example: If you’ve allowed screen time from 8 am to 8 pm, they could use their devices that entire time).

How to set app and game limits across your child’s devices

If your child is spending too much time on certain apps or games, you can set limits on that app or game to help them achieve a healthy balance. App and game limits are available on Windows 10 and Xbox One devices, along with Android devices with Microsoft Launcher installed. Once you set a limit, that limit will work across all of their devices. (For example, if you give them three hours on YouTube, they can spend a total of three hours on Windows 10, Xbox One, and Android.)

To set app and game limits, go to family.microsoft.com and sign in with your Microsoft account. Then:

  1. Find your child’s name and select App and game limits. (App and game limits aren’t available on adult accounts at this time.)
  2. Find the app or game you want to set limits on. If you’ve never set limits, it’ll show how often they use the app or game on average.
  3. Set how much time your child is allowed to spend on the app or game each day, and when they’re allowed to use it.

To give your kids a heads up on Xbox when their screen time is running out:

  1. Press the Xbox button on the controller.
  2. Select System > Settings  > Preferences > Notifications > Xbox Notifications > System and make sure System notifications on is selected.

Screen time counts down when a child is signed in, so if they’re not actively using their console, have them sign out.

Age Limits for Accessing Content

To ensure your kids have access to only family-friendly games, apps, TV shows, and movies on their Xbox One, you can choose from preset recommendations by age. To do this:

  1. Press the Xbox button to open the guide, and then go to System > Settings > Account > Family settings.
  2. Select Manage family members, and then select the child account you want to update.
  3. Under Access to content, choose the desired age-level restriction. (By default, your child’s restrictions will be set to the age associated with their Microsoft account).

When your child asks to use a blocked app or game that’s rated above their content restrictions, you can approve it by signing in with your passkey and selecting Always or Just this once.

Customize Privacy Settings

You can prevent your child from playing with strangers in the privacy settings. To ensure that your child is only playing with people they know or to turn off voice chat and unprompted communications:

  1. Click Settings
  2. Click All Settings
  3. Click Account
  4. Click Family
  5. Customize your privacy settings

Mute or Block Players

If you don’t want to hear or be contacted by specific players on Xbox One, you can mute them or block their communications with you. If you believe that the player has violated the Microsoft Services Agreement or Code of Conduct, you may also wish to file a complaint.

Mute another player

If another player engages in abusive or inappropriate in-game or chat voice communications, you can mute that player. This prevents them from speaking to you in-game or in a chat session. To mute another player:

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide.
  2. Select People, and then select the gamertag of the player you want to mute. If the player is not on your friends list, select Recent players or Find someone and enter the player’s gamertag to search.
  3. From the player’s profile, select Mute.

To unmute a player, follow the same steps to get to the player’s profile, and then select Unmute.

Block another player

Blocking another player prevents you from receiving that player’s messages, game invites, and party invites. It also prevents the player from seeing your online activity and removes them from your friends list, if they were on it. To block another player:

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide.
  2. Select People, and then select the gamertag of the player you want to block. If the player is not on your friends list, select Recent players or Find someone and enter the player’s gamertag to search.
  3. From the player’s profile, select Report or Block, and then select Block.

To unblock a player, follow the same steps to get to the player’s profile, and then select Unblock.

Block another player’s messages

You can also block a player after receiving an offensive or inappropriate message. Here’s how:

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide, and then go to Communication > Conversations.
  2. Select the message from the player you want to block.
  3. Select More > View profile > Report or block > Block.

Copilot on XBox One

Copilot links two controllers so you can use them as if they were one controller. The person who turns on Copilot for their controller is the pilot, and the pilot gets all achievements and gamerscore. To turn on Copilot:

  1. Connect a second controller to the Xbox for the copilot. The copilot can sign in or not — achievements and gamerscore don’t go to this player.
  2. Using the pilot’s controller, press the Xbox button to open the guide, then select System > Settings > Ease of Access > Controller.
  3. Choose Copilot settings, then select Turn on Copilot.
  4. Select the copilot controller.

The controllers are now linked, and both controllers have full control. When you start a game, you can use either controller however you like.

To turn off Copilot, go back to the Copilot settings and select Turn off Copilot.

Preventing Unauthorized Purchases

To help prevent unauthorized purchases from your console, you can set it to ask for the password every time you buy something.

Microsoft Family Safety App

The Microsoft Family Safety app allows parents to set screen time limits on all Microsoft-affiliated devices, including Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Microsoft Surface, Windows 10 devices, Windows 7 devices, and Windows Vista devices. Parents can use the app to create search filters and block mature content. The app also has built-in location sharing so you can track family members.

How to add a child to your Microsoft Family account

  1. Visit account.microsoft.com/family.
  2. Sign in with your personal Microsoft account and then select Add a Family Member.
  3. Select Child.
  4. Enter your child’s email address or phone number and select Send Invite.
  5. Make sure your child accepts your invitation.

The Xbox 360 is a gaming console from Microsoft. It allows you to play video games, stream content from apps, surf the web, and chat with other players via Xbox Live. Setting parental controls is fairly simple, and can be done from the console itself or online. The controls aren’t as robust as those on the Xbox One, but they will still help you protect your child from inappropriate content.

Setting Parental Controls on the Xbox 360

On the Xbox 360, you can control the following:

Setting controls on the Xbox 360 console

  1. On your console, go to Settings. Then, choose Family.
  2. Choose the gamertag for the child whose settings you want to edit.
  3. Under Privacy and Online Settings, choose Change Settings.
  4. Update the settings. Exit the screen to save.

Setting controls on Xbox Live through your computer

  1. Sign into your Xbox account.
  2. Click My Account.
  3. Click Security, Family, & Forums.
  4. Click Xbox 360 Online Safety.
  5. Choose the account you want to edit.
  6. Choose Allowed or Blocked next to the areas you want to limit or allow access to.
  7. Click Save.

Changing your passcode

The passcode is a PIN you can use to adjust content and controls. To change it, you must be on your console.

  1. Go to Settings, then Family.
  2. Enter your pass code.
  3. Choose Change Pass Code.
  4. Choose Change Pass Code again.
  5. Enter a new Pass Code twice.
  6. Choose Done.
  7. Save and Exit.

If you forget the pass code you set up for parental controls, you can reset it by answering the pass code question you set up with parental controls. You must be on your console for this.

  1. Go to Settings, then Family.
  2. Choose a content setting to change.
  3. Enter any pass code when prompted, even if it’s not the right one.
  4. Once you’re notified the pass code is incorrect, choose Reset Pass Code.
  5. Enter the answer to your pass code question and choose Done.

If you can’t remember the answer to this question, you’ll need to contact support for more help.

Microsoft Family Safety App

The Microsoft Family Safety app allows parents to set screen time limits on all Microsoft-affiliated devices, including Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Microsoft Surface, Windows 10 devices, Windows 7 devices, and Windows Vista devices. Parents can use the app to create search filters and block mature content. The app also has built-in location sharing so you can track family members.

How to add a child to your Microsoft Family account

  1. Visit account.microsoft.com/family.
  2. Sign in with your personal Microsoft account and then select Add a Family Member.
  3. Select Child.
  4. Enter your child’s email address or phone number and select Send Invite.
  5. Make sure your child accepts your invitation.

World of Warcraft (WoW) is the most popular massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) of all time. While the WoW craze has died down in recent years, it is still a popular place for millions of people to slip into their in-game avatars, gather, and play.

In WoW, players enter the world of Azeroth, a place filled with many races and creatures, but split into two near-constantly warring factions — the Alliance and the Horde. Players can choose to join either faction then help people all around the world of Azeroth for gold, gear and experience points to level up.

Enabling Parental Controls in World of Warcraft

This all seems fairly innocent, and it is. However, your children will be playing on servers filled with thousands of other people. To manufacturer Blizzard’s credit, they have gone to great lengths to make sure their game was safe for all players and to help parents make sure their children aren’t spending all their time in the world of Azeroth.

World of Warcraft is a PC-only game, and while there are other ways to enact parental controls on the PC, Blizzard has some of the most expansive parental controls of any game publisher.

When you create a Parent Account with Blizzard, you’ll be able to:

All of this can be very simply enabled on Blizzard’s website from the parental control page here.

Things to Keep in Mind

To chat, or not to chat?

While Blizzard has excellent parental controls, the reason that WoW has been enduringly popular is because it’s played with so many other people. Unlike other games, where the activities are short, some activities may require players to communicate with one another to explain more complex mechanics. This is where disabling chat might affect gameplay. However, for younger children, it may be best to keep chat disabled so they’re not exposed to uncensored strangers (many of whom are adults).

Using Discord instead of WoW chat

It is important to also remember that while Blizzard has good parental controls, there are ways to bypass them. For example, many guilds, instead of using in-game chat options, will use third-party programs such as Discord to text and voice chat. This makes it necessary to still keep an eye on who your children chat with even if WoW chat is disabled.

Real-life guilds

The best option for keeping your children safe while still allowing them to have fun may be instead to find an in-game community that is a good fit for them. In WoW, these communities are called guilds. Many guilds are run by other parents to create a safe community that exists specifically for younger children to give them a friendly and safe play environment.

Steam is a free gaming platform available for download onto your computer. With it, you can buy and download video games — and there are millions to choose from. While many of them are appropriate for children, there are plenty that aren’t. Fortunately, parents can take control and decide what gets downloaded.

Any time a person sets up a new Steam account, that account automatically gets full access to everything: the Steam store, all purchased games, and the Steam Community discussions. To prevent children from purchasing or accessing inappropriate content on the Steam platform, there is a set of parental controls available known as Family View.

With Family View, access to the Steam Store, Library, Community, Friends content, and other features may be granted by the entry of a secret PIN.

How to Set Parental Controls on Steam

  1. Login to Steam with the account your child will use.
  2. Click the Steam menu in the top, and open Settings.
  3. Go to the Family tab that opens on the left side of the window.
  4. Click Family View to start the wizard.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions through each step of the wizard. This allows you to choose the content and features you want the child to be able to access with their account.
  6. Select and confirm your new PIN.

It’s worth noting that even though there is a parental control system in place, Steam still leaves vetting the games and checking the ratings to parents. Games are rated by age, but may not provide enough detail about what is actually in the game for parents to make informed decisions. This means parents will have to rely on third-party sources such as Common Sense Media to learn more about titles before making decisions about games and restrictions.

Since its debut with the NES in 1985, Nintendo has provided quality content and captivating gaming experiences for consumers of all ages. Today the entertainment giant’s flagship console is the Nintendo Switch. Even though the Switch is considered one of the safer gaming devices for children, any type of online gaming platform will always carry potential risks. To help you protect your child while they’re racing through MarioKart levels or picking fruit in Animal Crossing, we’re going to walk how you through how to set up Nintendo Switch parental controls.

Getting Started

In order to provide their customers with the best gaming experience, Nintendo has comprehensive parental controls that allow parents to have a more powerful voice in how their children use the console. The parental controls on the Nintendo Switch console allow parents to:

The Switch Parental Controls app has the same functionality, plus the following additional features:

Finally, through your child’s Nintendo Account, you can also set restrictions on Nintendo eShop purchases. Nintendo eShop restrictions can only be set through an account’s profile settings on a PC or smart device, accessible by signing in to http://accounts.nintendo.com.

How to Set Up Nintendo Switch Parental Controls

Accessing parental controls for the Switch is fairly easy. To access this function directly from the console, follow these steps:

  1. On the Home Screen, locate and select Systems Settings.
  2. Once selected, scroll down to Parental Controls.
  3. Select Parental Control Settings, which appears on the right side of the screen.
  4. Scroll down and select Use This Console.
  5. Select Restriction Level.
  6. If you would like to enable the pre-made settings, select either Child, Pre-teen, or Teen from the menu and the console will automatically restrict content based on your child’s age.
  7. If you would rather have your settings customized, select Custom Settings instead.

Customize Your Settings

If you want to only restrict certain functions, follow these steps:

  1. From the Custom Settings menu, select Restrict Software.
  2. To restrict games based on their rating, select Software Ratings Organization.
  3. To restrict the ability to post to social media, select Post to Social Media. (NOTE: No players under the age of 13 will be able to access Nintendo’s social media content, no matter what the parental controls are set to).
  4. To limit your child’s ability to send messages, share images, and get user profile information, select Communicating with Others.

 Once you have your parental controls set to your exact specifications, select Next to save your preferences and create a four to eight-digit PIN number that you will use in the future to access the Parental Controls.

Controlling From Your Smartphone

To access the parental controls on your Android or iPhone, you will need to register your Switch console to the Nintendo Parental Controls app. To do this, open the app on your phone and either sign in or create a new Nintendo account. The app will then give you a set of instructions, including a code that you will need to submit on the Switch console.

Here are the steps to successfully managing your parental controls settings on your smartphone:

  1. On your Switch console’s Home Screen, launch the System Settings.
  2. Scroll down and select Parental Settings.
  3. Select Parental Control Settings.
  4. You will then be sent to a page that will ask you how you would like to set up your Parental Control Settings. Select Use your Smart Device.
  5. It will ask you if you have the Parental Control app. Select Yes.
  6. Then select Enter Registration Code. Enter the code the app generated for you when you first opened it.
  7. Select Register.
  8. Go back to the app and select Set Parental Controls.
  9. You will be prompted to Set a Daily Limit. You can either select No Limit or you can choose to limit activity for up to 6 hours.
  10. Tap Next, then choose to create a pre-made setting by selecting either Child, Pre-Teen, or Teen. Or select Custom Setting for individualized restrictions.
  11. Select Next to save your settings.
  12. If you would like to receive Push notifications for a statement on your child’s monthly game activity, tap Allow.
  13. That’s it! You’ve enabled Nintendo Switch parental controls.

The Nintendo 3DS is a portable, handheld gaming system similar to the Gameboy systems from the 90s, except this one is enabled for Wi-Fi. It also allows gameplay to take place in 3D (with compatible games) and features cameras for taking photos and videos, as well as a touchscreen.

With the 3DS parental controls, you can restrict several features and settings, including:

Setting Parental Controls on the Nintendo 3DS

  1. Check to see that your system is up to date, and if not, update the system before continuing.
  2. Select Parental Controls from the System Settings Menu. Tap Yes.
  3. Select Yes when prompted to configure the settings.
  4. Select Next on the following screen. Read the information, then tap OK
  5. Tap OK again, and choose a 4-digit PIN. You’ll enter this PIN twice.
  6. Tap OK to select a secret question you can answer if you forget your PIN.
  7. Select a secret question from the list, or create your own. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your answer. Remember, the answer is case-sensitive.
  8. Tap OK to confirm the answer.
  9. Tap OK. Register your email address to reset your PIN if your forget it. If you do register your email address, you’ll need to enter it twice to confirm it, then check your confirmation email to confirm your account. If you don’t want to add your email address, select Cancel.
  10. Tap OK.
  11. When you’re finished, tap Done to save the settings.

You’ll now be able to select the restrictions you want to set on the 3DS based on the topics above.

Minecraft is a game that allows you to build and play adventures in “infinitely-generated worlds of wide open terrain.” It’s an open-ended game where players choose what to do and how to do it. Creative mode allows players limitless resources to build whatever they want. Survival mode means players must explore the world and mine the resources to feed, house, and protect themselves. It’s also possible to play with friends online and make up your own rules.

Minecraft is available on smartphones/tablets, PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Wii U, 3DS, and Nintendo Switch. It’s also available for Gear VR and Fire TV.

Prior to Microsoft purchasing Minecraft, parental controls were highly limited, and online multiplayer was risky for parents of young children. Now things have changed, and the Better Together Update gives parents more control and peace of mind.

Signing In

Regardless of whether your child is playing a multiplayer game on mobile, devices, Windows 10, or a gaming console, an Xbox Live sign-in is now required to play online multiplayer games. Creating an XBox Live account and gamertag allows you to set privacy and multiplayer preferences.

Parental Controls on Minecraft Through XBox Live

  1. Log in to your Xbox Live Account at login.live.com. If you don’t have a Xbox Live Account, you can create one for free, but you have to sign up using a Microsoft account.
  2. Once in your Xbox Live Account, click Privacy and Online Safety. Here you’ll be able to see the gamerpics for everyone in your Microsoft Family.
  3. There are a number of settings available there, but the most important ones for Minecraft are:

Child Accounts for Under 13: You must provide permission to create an Xbox Live account, and you can create a child account here: https://account.microsoft.com/family/addmember. All child accounts have multiplayer communication settings blocked by default.

In-Game Security

It’s possible to add, mute, block, or report players from the Minecraft Pause menu. It’s also possible to set player permissions from the Pause menu, so your children can invite friends to look at but not touch worlds, or help fight off zombies without attacking each other.

Chats

Chat filters are in place for protection. These automatically filter out profanity, email addresses, phone numbers, and ages. Private messaging is no longer part of Minecraft multiplayer.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the most expansive Mario Kart game to date, with more content and tracks than any other version. For the uninitiated, the long-running multiplayer racing series is a lighthearted game with whimsical tracks, recognizable Nintendo characters, and silly items that serve to boost, buff, or weaponize karts so that simply driving the fastest isn’t enough to win.

A remaster of Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has many of the same features, but with reams of new characters and tracks added to the mix. It includes 4-player, split-screen multiplayer, as well as online races for up to 12 players. There is also a Battle Mode, where players race around a labyrinth, launching shells and leveraging environmental hazards to try to be the last kart standing.

A Game for Everyone

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe targets all ages. On-screen violence is limited to the most minor cartoon violence, with no blood animations or any other violence beyond characters being comically flattened or bumped before recovering completely. While each track takes players to a completely different locale of the Nintendo universe, the game pulls only from Nintendo’s all-ages affairs.

While the series is most notable for its raucous multiplayer experience, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the online multiplayer feature has become something of a phenomenon. Your child may be interested in seeing what the fuss is about, and see how they stack up against the masses online. Thankfully, Mario Kart online — along with most of Nintendo’s offerings — is designed with young users in mind.

Mario Kart 8 Online

All Nintendo Switch Online games are structured so that, by default, they do not have any voice chat through the console itself. Instead, it requires a separate Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app to route voice through, and even then your child can only chat with certified friends who have been manually added to the account.

You still may want to limit the ability to use Nintendo Switch Online communications features if there are individuals your child might add to their friends list that you prefer them not to engage with through voice communications.

Managing Mario Kart 8 Communications

Here are step-by-step instructions for managing communication on Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, via Nintendo Switch Online:

  1. Open the Nintendo Switch Online app for iOS or Android and choose Settings.
  2. Select the child whose account you’d like to manage.
  3. Tap Restriction Level.
  4. To limit any communication features in any Nintendo Switch game, tap Communicating With Others > Disabled.
  5. To turn off automatic social media posting, tap Posting to Social Media > Restricted.

With these two communications features disabled, your child will be free to race against their friends with no risk of the outside world encroaching on their fun!

Fortnite is a brilliant mashup of creative building and third-person shooting action. Fortnite is available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as Windows and Mac. The popular multiplayer version of the game, Battle Royale, has taken the world by storm, with about 80 million people currently enjoy the action-packed adventure.

An internet connection is required to play the game, and when your child plays Fortnite, they can instantly connect with people around the globe. The game is rated “T for Teen” due to some violence (gunfire, explosions, swords, etc.)

Fortnite is a very social game, as kids can play against their friends or players from across the world. YouTube and Twitch gamers have contributed to the game’s popularity by streaming their gameplay and amusing antics. The most popular gaming mode, Battle Royale, also happens to be free (with in-app purchases available).

Is Fortnite Appropriate for Children?

To some parents, the absence of blood in Fortnite makes the game less of a concern than other shooting games. However, the online chat element does open the door to inappropriate language and contact from strangers. Games with chat features generally aren’t recommended for those under age 13, but with parental controls, Fortnite can serve as a great alternative to other, more brutal first-person shooter games.

Fortnite and Twitch

Many kids aren’t just playing the game — they’re watching others play it on Twitch. Twitch is a platform that video game enthusiasts use to livestream themselves playing games like Fortnite. Livestreaming is, by nature, a bit unpredictable. There’s no editing for language or mature content. If your child is using the Twitch platform to watch gamers play Fortnite, be aware of the lack of censorship they’ll encounter.

Fortnite Parental Controls

Both the gaming console and PC versions of Fortnite offer live, unmoderated chat capabilities. Players can opt to use voice chat or type text to the screen. This, unfortunately, exposes kids to the whims of strangers and the high likelihood of obscene language, with people talking into microphones in real time during the game.

How to turn off the voice chat option in the Fortnite

  1. Navigate to the top right corner of the main page.
  2. Select the …  icon.
  3. Select then the gear icon.
  4. Go to the Audio tab at the top of your screen.
  5. Adjust voice chat and other audio features.

How to report another user

If you or your child feel that another player has acted inappropriately, you can select Report Player at the bottom right of the screen at any time.