Xbox Basics

For directions straight from Xbox support go HERE. Otherwise here's my primer:

The Xbox Controller, the Heart of your console. (click to enlarge)
Setting up Controls and Privacy on your Xbox. 

These settings are saved with a four digit code so your kids can't change them without your permission.

When you turn on the Xbox, the screen you are looking at is called the Dashboard.

Log into Xbox LIVE with your child's gamertag. There are several ways to do this but the quickest is to press the Xbox Guide button on the controller (the big silver X button in the center) press the blue X button to Sign In, then scroll to your child's gamertag and press A.

To change the pages of the Dashboard, click on the Bumpers of the Xbox controller. These are at the top, labeled LB and RB.

There are two places to set Parental Controls: Console Controls and Online Safety & Privacy. Console Controls are on the Settings Page, using the Right Bumper it's all the way to the right of the dashboard pages.  Select Family Settings or Family Center. (it depends on your Xbox LIVE membership type). Privacy is also on the Settings Page of the Xbox Dashboard.

To use Console Controls:

On your Xbox Console go to the Settings page and select Family.

Choose "Content Controls".

Select "On" to turn on Console Safety.

Enter a 4-button pass-code using your controller.

Choose Save and Exit.

Now that Console Safety is turned on, you can set parental controls from the following:

Ratings and Content: 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.

Family Timer: This setting allows you to limit the time that your console can be used on a daily or weekly basis. You cannot set specific on and off times, but how many hours a day the Xbox can be used.

Xbox LIVE Access: This setting allows you to decide if your family can connect to Xbox LIVE from this console.

Xbox LIVE Membership Creation: This setting allows you to control whether or not new Xbox LIVE memberships can be created from your console.

Changing Safety and Privacy settings:

On your console, go to the Settings page and select Privacy.

Choose "Change Settings".

Choose a preset privacy group or choose "Customize".

Online Friends – Other people on Xbox Live may want to add your child to their personal friends list. To manage approval of your child’s online friends, you can require these requests to be approved by you.

*Choose "Approval not required" to allow your child to send and accept new friend requests.

*Choose "Require Approval" to require that friend requests be approved by you. If you choose this option, you must also approve any new friend request that your child wants to send to other gamers. It will ask you to enter a password when a friend request is sent or approved.

Communications – Manage who your child can communicate with on Xbox Live. Communication on Xbox Live includes chat, messages, and game invitations using voice, video, or text.

Choose your level of security:

Select "Everyone" to allow your child to communicate with anyone on Xbox Live.

Select "Friends Only" to allow your child to communicate only with people on his or her friends list.

Select "Blocked" to block everyone from communicating with your child. Your child will still receive new friend requests.

To exit press the B on your controller, and then choose Save and Exit.

Don't forget your pass-code and passwords!


  1. No matter what I do, I cannot approve my child's friends requests. They do not show up on the console, only when I log into his acct on the computer. When I hit "approve" it says he cannot approve.
    When I log into my acct on the computer there in nothing there. So I did 5 million steps to get my "gamer tag" onto the console. Nothing there to approve either. I even tried friending his friend again, from his acct o. The console, it says they are already friends but he is not on the list. Help!!!

  2. Same here! It is anything but intuitive

  3. I've only ever had them show up on my daughter's console! When you set up your child's privacy settings you use an email and password. When they get a request it asks for that password and it accepts the request. If it isn't doing that you will probably have to call 1-800-4MY-XBOX and have them reset it all. I would suggest calling on a weekday before noon.

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