How to Set Up Parental Controls on an Xbox 360

Introduction

In This Guide
You'll Learn:
  • What ESRB ratings are.
  • How ESRB ratings relate to Parental Controls.
  • Understand and setup Child Accounts on your Xbox 360.
  • How to change what kind of content Child Accounts can access on your Xbox 360.
Before We Begin:
  • Have access to your Xbox 360.
  • Have at least one child account under your main account on your Xbox 360.
Xbox logo

1 ESRB Ratings

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings provide guidance about video games and apps so that you can make informed choices about the ones you deem suitable for your family.

The ESRB is a single group, and only provides opinions on content. They are there to help give you an overview of the themes present in a game, not make decisions what is best for your child.

Parts of ESRB Ratings

  • Rating Categories suggest age appropriateness.
  • Content Descriptors indicate content that may have triggered a particular rating and/or may be of interest or concern.
  • Interactive Elements highlight interactive or online features of a product, including users' ability to interact with each other, the sharing of users' location with other users, if purchases of digital goods or services are offered, and/or if unrestricted internet access is provided.

You can find the ESRB ratings on the front of physical games, with the content descriptor on the back.
Locations for the ESRB ratings

Box Front

A small logo will be printed on the front of the game box, or prominently in the online store for the game.

Rating Pending
ESRB Rating PendingGames, but usually just promotional material for games, that the ESRB hasn't rated yet.
Early Childhood
ESRB Early ChildhoodGames designed for a preschool audience. No content that parents would find objectionable.
Everyone
ESRB EveryoneGames that the ESRB believes to be "generally suitable for all ages". There may be infrequent mild or cartoon violence.
Everyone 10+
ESRB Everyone 10+Games that the ESRB believes is still acceptable to everyone, but may have more mild or cartoon violence, mild language, crude humor, or suggestive content.
Teen
ESRB TeenGames the ESRB finds suitable for teenagers. Things such as a moderate amount of violence, some language or adult themes, and crude humor.
Mature
ESRB MatureGames the ESRB believes is generally suitable for people 17 or over. Realistic violence, strong adult themes, language, and so forth.
Adults Only
ESRB Adults OnlyGames the ESRB believes are only suitable for adults 18 and over. Adult themes throughout, graphic depictions of adult themes, violence, and gambling with real-world money.

Content Descriptor

On the back of the box, a more expanded list of information about the rating, and a small list of why the rating was given is shown.
Example ESRB Content Descriptor

The primary information is repeated, here, just like the logo on the front. To the right, further information detailing what, exactly, gave it that rating. This is so you can make a more informed decision for your child.

ESRB
For further information, as well as to check the ratings before leaving home, you can always check the ESRB Website.

2 Turn On Parental Controls

  1. Press the center Xbox Guide button.
    Xbox 360 wireless controller, highlighting the guide button
  2. Select Settings and then Family.
    Xbox 360 settings and family
  3. Select Content Controls.
    Content controls
  4. Select On.
    Selecting On
  5. A pre-selected set of content controls will be added.
  6. Return to the previous menu and select Save and Exit.
    Save and exit
  7. You'll need to create a pass code to save your settings.
    Creating a passcode
  8. Set a pass code and your secret question.
    Passcode and secret question
  9. When finished, select Done.

? What would you like to adjust?

  1. Console parental controls
  2. Online safety and privacy settings
  3. Reset controls
  4. Change passcode

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In This Guide
You'll Learn:
  • What ESRB ratings are.
  • How ESRB ratings relate to Parental Controls.
  • Understand and setup Child Accounts on your Xbox 360.
  • How to change what kind of content Child Accounts can access on your Xbox 360.
Before We Begin:
  • Have access to your Xbox 360.
  • Have at least one child account under your main account on your Xbox 360.
Xbox logo

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings provide guidance about video games and apps so that you can make informed choices about the ones you deem suitable for your family.

The ESRB is a single group, and only provides opinions on content. They are there to help give you an overview of the themes present in a game, not make decisions what is best for your child.

Parts of ESRB Ratings

  • Rating Categories suggest age appropriateness.
  • Content Descriptors indicate content that may have triggered a particular rating and/or may be of interest or concern.
  • Interactive Elements highlight interactive or online features of a product, including users' ability to interact with each other, the sharing of users' location with other users, if purchases of digital goods or services are offered, and/or if unrestricted internet access is provided.

You can find the ESRB ratings on the front of physical games, with the content descriptor on the back.
Locations for the ESRB ratings

Box Front

A small logo will be printed on the front of the game box, or prominently in the online store for the game.

Rating Pending
ESRB Rating PendingGames, but usually just promotional material for games, that the ESRB hasn't rated yet.
Early Childhood
ESRB Early ChildhoodGames designed for a preschool audience. No content that parents would find objectionable.
Everyone
ESRB EveryoneGames that the ESRB believes to be "generally suitable for all ages". There may be infrequent mild or cartoon violence.
Everyone 10+
ESRB Everyone 10+Games that the ESRB believes is still acceptable to everyone, but may have more mild or cartoon violence, mild language, crude humor, or suggestive content.
Teen
ESRB TeenGames the ESRB finds suitable for teenagers. Things such as a moderate amount of violence, some language or adult themes, and crude humor.
Mature
ESRB MatureGames the ESRB believes is generally suitable for people 17 or over. Realistic violence, strong adult themes, language, and so forth.
Adults Only
ESRB Adults OnlyGames the ESRB believes are only suitable for adults 18 and over. Adult themes throughout, graphic depictions of adult themes, violence, and gambling with real-world money.

Content Descriptor

On the back of the box, a more expanded list of information about the rating, and a small list of why the rating was given is shown.
Example ESRB Content Descriptor

The primary information is repeated, here, just like the logo on the front. To the right, further information detailing what, exactly, gave it that rating. This is so you can make a more informed decision for your child.

ESRB
For further information, as well as to check the ratings before leaving home, you can always check the ESRB Website.
  1. Press the center Xbox Guide button.
    Xbox 360 wireless controller, highlighting the guide button
  2. Select Settings and then Family.
    Xbox 360 settings and family
  3. Select Content Controls.
    Content controls
  4. Select On.
    Selecting On
  5. A pre-selected set of content controls will be added.
  6. Return to the previous menu and select Save and Exit.
    Save and exit
  7. You'll need to create a pass code to save your settings.
    Creating a passcode
  8. Set a pass code and your secret question.
    Passcode and secret question
  9. When finished, select Done.
  1. Press the center Xbox Guide button.
    Xbox 360 wireless controller, highlighting the guide button
  2. Select Settings and then Family.
    Xbox 360 settings and family
  3. Select Content Controls.
    Content controls
  4. Input your Pass Code.
    Pass code
  5. Select Ratings and Content.
    Ratings and Content
  6. These settings let you restrict games and video content based on the content's rating. You can also set whether or not unrated or explicit content can be played on this console. 
    Game Ratings
  7. Return to the previous menu and select Family Timer.
    Family timer
  8. This setting allows you to limit the time your console can be used on a daily or weekly basis.
    The family timer menu
  9. Return to the previous menu and select Xbox Live Access.
    Xbox Live Access
  10. This setting allows you to decide if your family can connect to Xbox Live from this console.
    Allowing xbox live
  11. Return to the previous menu and select Xbox Live Membership Creation.
    Membership creation
  12. This setting allows you to control whether or not new Xbox Live memberships can be created from your console.
    Membership allowed
  13. Return to the previous menu and select Save and Exit.
    Save and exit
  1. Press the center Xbox Guide button.
    Xbox 360 wireless controller, highlighting the guide button
  2. Select Settings and then Family.
    Xbox 360 settings and family
  3. Select the child account.
    Selecting the child account
  4. Select Privacy and Online Settings and then Change Settings.
    Changing settings
  5. Input your Pass Code.
    Passcode
  6. Select Customize.
    Selecting customize
  7. From here you can select and adjust various online settings.
    All the settings
    Activity
    Xbox 360 activity tab
    • Voice and Text: Decide who to communicate with using voice and text on Xbox Live. This includes voice and text chat, messaging, and game invites.
    • Video Communication: Decide who to interact with using video on Xbox Live. Video communication includes Video Kinect and in-game video.
    • Web Browsing: Decide whether to browse the web with Internet Explorer.
    Privacy
    Xbox 360 privacy settings
    • Profile Sharing: Decide who can see this profile. A profile includes motto, personal picture, name, bio, and location if you've provided that information.
    • Kinect Sharing: Decide whether you want content created with Kinect to be shared outside of Xbox Live. Video and Voice Communication on Video Kinect on Xbox Live are controlled by the Video Communication and Voice and Text Communication Settings.
    • Social Network Sharing: Decide whether activity on Xbox Live can be shared to social networks outside Xbox Live.
    • Game Activity: Decide who can see this person's game activity. Game activity includes games played, stats, and achievements.
    • Online Status: Decide who can see this person's online status. Online status includes current online activity, like what’s being played now and availability to play.
    • Video and Music Status: Decide who can see the titles of the videos or music being played. If online status is blocked, video and music status is also blocked.
    • Friends List: Decide who can see this player's friends list. A friends list includes access to friends and their profiles
    • Voice Data Collection: Decide whether to allow Microsoft to collect samples of voice commands spoken when in Kinect games and experiences. This info helps Microsoft to improve speech recognition.
    • Voice Search Data: Decide whether to allow Microsoft to use voice search commands to improve Microsoft products.
    • Exercise Info Sharing: Includes fitness scores from calorie burn, time played, physical intensity of movement, and feedback from physical activity. Sharing with Everyone or Friends lets you use game features like leader boards and exercise challenges. To change these settings, go to Settings, Privacy. Height, weight, year of birth, and gender can be stored online but are never shared with anyone.
    Content
    Xbox 360 content tab
    • Filtering: Decide whether to show only family-orientated content in Xbox experiences.
    • Profile Viewing: Decide whether to see other people's profiles. A profile includes information about a member's game history and achievements. It can also contain a gamer's motto and personal info, which may be inappropriate for children.
    • Member Content: Decide whether to see member-created content on Xbox Live. Member content includes images, text, and custom content in games and profiles, which you may find inappropriate. This setting doesn't prevent download of Indie Games.
    • Explicit Content: Decide whether to be able to play explicit music and music videos on Xbox or Windows Phone.
    Contact Preferences
    Xbox 360 contact preferences
    • Xbox Marketing: Decide if you'd like to receive information and offers about music, videos, and games from Xbox and related entertainment providers in e-mail.
    • Partner Marketing: Decide whether to share your e-mail address with partners of Xbox and related entertainment products so they can send you information and offers.
  8. When finished return to the previous menu and select Save and Exit.
    Save and exit for the online portion
  9. Use your adult Xbox Live account to save your settings.
    Email and password for xbox live
  10. It may take up to four hours for your settings to take affect.
    Warning about the time frame
  1. Press the center Xbox Guide button.
    Xbox 360 wireless controller, highlighting the guide button
  2. Select Settings and then Family.
    Xbox 360 settings and family
  3. Select Content Controls.
    Content controls
  4. Input your Pass Code.
    Passcode
  5. Select Reset to Default Settings.
    Reset to default settings
  1. Press the center Xbox Guide button.
    Xbox 360 wireless controller, highlighting the guide button
  2. Select Settings and then Family.
    Xbox 360 settings and family
  3. Select Content Controls.
    Content controls
  4. Input your Pass Code.
    Passcode
  5. Select Change Pass Code.
    Change Passcode
  6. Select Set Pass Code.
    Passcode and secret question
  7. Input your Pass Code.
    Passcode
  8. When finished, select Done.
    Done button
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