Microsoft is adding new screen time and game purchasing controls to its Xbox Family Settings app in anticipation of a gaming-filled holiday at home. Microsoft originally launched the app in preview during the summer, and it released the final version in September. But the company is now adding in more features so parents can better manage their children's playtime on the go.
Alongside the current ability to set and manage the amount of time kids are able to play on their Xbox, parents can now also use Pause Screen Time to temporarily block an account as motivation to finish homework or hang out with family members. The block can be removed any time via the app or automatically turned off at the end of the day. If the blocked account tries to play anything while the block is on, they’ll be shown a notification informing them their screen time is up.
Microsoft is also adding in some controls over purchases that were previously available directly on Xboxes and PCs. With the “Ask to Buy” setting turned on in the Xbox Family Settings app, when a kid goes to buy something from the Xbox Marketplace, their parent will be notified in the app from which they can read more about the game and approve the purchase. With the setting turned on for an account, only purchases made with a gift card or the remaining account balance will go through without approval.