How to Set Up Xbox 360 Parental Controls

How to Set Up Xbox 360 Parental Controls

Like movies, video games span a multitude of genres and cover a lot of controversial ground. That means there is the potential for very young kids to run into game content featuring sex, drugs, and rock and roll–game content that’s far removed from the likes of Big Bird’s Sailboat Adventure.

If you’re a parent or a guardian, you might not want your young charge wandering into content that’s not suitable for them. Fortunately, most modern game systems have parental control systems that can help ensure kids can only access games that fall under a certain ESRB rating. Here’s how to activate the parental controls for the Xbox 360.

How to Set Up Xbox 360 Parental Controls

  1. Turn on the Xbox 360.
  2. Access the My Xbox option from the Main Menu.
  3. Flip through the tabs until you reach the System page.
  4. Choose Family Settings.

The Xbox 360’s Family Settings option is divided into two categories: Console Control and Xbox Live Control:

  • Console Control offers several options, including Game Ratings, Video Ratings, Xbox Live Access, Xbox Live Membership Creation, Restricted Content, and a Family Timer.
  • The Game Ratings setting lets you restrict which games your child can access according to their ESRB video game rating. Those whose ratings are cited as restricted will require a passcode to access.
  • Video Ratings likewise lets you restrict access to content based on MPAA ratings, and you can even control content that’s not rated by using the “Unrated Video” option. Movies and TV shows whose ratings are cited as restricted will require a passcode to access.
  • The Family Timer lets you set gameplay time limits on a daily or weekly basis, e.g. restricting play to 1 hour per day, and blocking subsequent access for 24 hours, unless you choose to allow children additional playtime. Using a passcode, you can extend time limits if you’d like to grant kids’ more time to play. Don’t forget to set the clock to the appropriate time zone and current time before using it.
  • The Xbox Live access and Xbox Live Membership Creation options let you restrict access to a broadband Internet connection, and, subsequently, online play.
  • Lastly, you can use the “Set Passcode Option” to set a passcode. This option is highly recommended, as it gives you greater control over time limits and children’s ability to access games, movies and TV shows.

Tip: You can also make changes to your child’s Xbox 360 profile while maintaining full access over your own profile.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.


  1. Well my son of 14 has managed to get past the time control- cracked my pass code!!! I want to get a ‘foolproof(14yr old proof) timer. Possibly internal upgrade.

  2. No word that this control can be disabled by smart kids within 5 minutes using youtube 🙁 Microsoft made it too easy …

Leave a Reply