Every year, hundreds of homes purchase new gaming consoles, such as the Xbox, for family fun and recreation. Along with the console, many parents have also brought home gift cards, such as the versatile MixAndMatchGifts card, so it’s easy to pick up and install their favorite games and online services.
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Your Family and Your New Online Xbox Activities
If you’ve done the same, then you’ve probably discovered that these purchases brought some unexpected concerns into your home. How can you find games that are safe and appropriate for the family to enjoy? How can you safeguard the privacy of your child? Is it possible to limit time spent on the device and the type of content shared with your child? With a bit of research, you can find gaming tips that allow your entire family to enjoy favorite games, streaming services available through MixAndMatchGifts, and more without exposing your family to unwanted content.
Parental Control Settings
Many gift cards, including MixAndMatchGifts, provide access to a wide variety of online services, such as iTunes, Netflix, Steam, Xbox Live, and specific games, such as PUBG. Although the console and the gift cards open the doors to content, you can adjust the settings to keep out the images, games, and websites you don’t want. Each generation of Xbox has its own set-up for parental controls, but they generally follow a path from “Settings” to “Family.” You can set the same controls for the entire family or personalize them for each family member.
Purchase and Time Limits
While adjusting the settings on your console, take time to set limits on what and how many purchases your children can make. Some consoles allow you to monitor game time and content through activity reports, so the whole family understands how the Xbox is being used. You can also set up screen time limits that work with your family schedule.
Time limits won’t affect the type of content your family views, but they are effective at establishing healthy habits regarding video games. Consider daily and weekly limits on how much time is spent in front of monitors. Talk with family members about the type of boundaries are best for your situation. This can help everyone determine what will be available and when. You may want to consider boundaries for each type of content you’ve chosen through your MixAndMatchGifts card.
Online Safety With Friends
Many popular games, such as Fortnite (which is available through the MixAndMatchGifts card) and Minecraft, are fun to play with the online multiplayer community. Through the Xbox online safety and privacy settings, set up restrictions to the activity and profile information, so family members can play online with chosen family and friends while restricting activity with anyone who hasn’t been approved. It’s crucial that all friend requests are carefully reviewed because it can be difficult to distinguish between adult and younger gamers. It’s important to be aware that some “young” gamers may be predators hoping to attract your child’s attention.
Video Game Ratings
There’s a great resource for helping you identify games that are safe for your family. The Entertainment Software Rating Board established a video game rating system. Look for the EC rating for early childhood games and the E rating for everyone. Be aware that an E +10 rating indicates that content may not be suitable for children under 10 years old. You may not find these ratings when you make purchases through the MixAndMatchGifts card, but you can look up information about what ratings mean and how to find them through the ESRB website.
Your Attention and Participation
With all these available resources, the most powerful protection for your children is your attention. Your children will look to you as an example of what appropriate content looks like. If you are attentive and involved in the games your children are playing and the videos they’re watching, your children are more likely to make safe choices. When the whole family is involved in making purchase decisions through your MixAndMatchGifts card, you’re more likely to enjoy spending this family time together.
Regular Conversations About Online Safety
Remember that you won’t always be around when your children have access to the internet. They may play games at friends’ houses or access the internet for school assignments. It is pretty easy for faceless criminals to get important information if your children haven’t been taught internet safety habits. Make sure your children are aware of online dangers and what they can do to keep themselves safe. As you learn more about teaching internet safety to your children, your entire family will be safer from predators and other criminals.
Safe Family Gaming and Bonding Nights
After you’ve taken steps toward protecting your family from unwanted content and online predators, your game nights can become great bonding activities. Remember that the most important resource available for keeping your young players safe is your own participation in Xbox and MixAndMatchGifts activities.