Keeping kids safe in a digital world

The internet is a dynamic place that is changing every day, so today, Safer Internet Day, is a great time to take a moment to evaluate your family’s digital habits and online safety, and ensure you have all the proper guardrails in place. As the lead of strategy and product for the family team, and a mom of two, it’s something I think about all the time, at home and at work. Yet I hear from a lot of people that they don’t know what tools are available or how to use them. I think most parents today wonder how to ensure their children are safe when using technology, be it playing the latest games, using apps, or simply browsing the web from their many devices. Today, I am sharing a few tips that I personally use with my kids that might help your family.

  • Take advantage of free, built-in features in the devices you use. Go to account.microsoft.com and set up a Microsoft account to take advantage of all the great family settings across Windows, Xbox, Microsoft Launcher for Android, and the web. Family settings are a free set of features that span devices and can help you set guardrails that work for your family – manage screen time, set permissions for games or apps purchases, enable safe browsing on the web, and more. And we’re excited that we’re making the consent process for a child account easier than ever, eliminating the need to enter a credit card to confirm an adult account – which is often a barrier for families in this process. Beginning now on Xbox, and coming to Windows, mobile apps and the web over the coming months, the process is simpler and more efficient for parents, requiring only an e-signature.

Family settings icons on a phone

  • Have an open dialog with your children about expectations and appropriate digital behavior. While there are tons of tools and apps available to track your child’s behavior or monitor their every move, there is a lot to be said for using digital time as a learning opportunity. I always encourage people to sit down with their kids and talk about what is expected of them, what is good and bad online, and to discuss what the appropriate guardrails are going to be before you set them up. This can help foster an ongoing conversation and empower kids to be a part of the process in learning how to manage their own relationship with technology.
  • Set a good example. Just like our kids wanted to cook or vacuum like us when they were small, they are still looking to us as their example as they get older. The best way to teach our kids about responsible digital habits and online safety is to demonstrate good behaviors ourselves.

Visit microsoft.com/family for more information and tips. My team and I continue to work hard to build features that can help families thrive in our digital world – we are excited to bring you more this year!

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