Parents can now remotely boot their kids off Xbox whenever they want, using their phone

Parents can now remotely boot their kids off Xbox whenever they want, using their phone
A man plays the Xbox Series X.Red Robots Mediagrab/Reuters
  • Microsoft on Thursday announced it's adding extra features to its parental control Xbox app, just in time for the holidays.
  • Parents will now be able to remotely block their kids' Xbox at will using the app.
  • It will also allow parents to receive notifications on their phone if their kid tries to buy an Xbox game.
  • The feature could "reinforce asks to set the table for dinner or to make sure homework is completed," Microsoft said.

Microsoft is introducing new remote controls that will let parents boot kids off their Xbox, just in time for the holidays.

The company announced the new feature in a blog post. Xbox already has a dedicated "Family Settings" app for parents, which it launched in September.

From this app, parents will be able to "Pause Screen Time," Microsoft said Thursday. This means parents will be able to remotely disable their child's Xbox.
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"Whether the feature is used to reinforce asks to set the table for dinner or to make sure homework is completed, this feature will block children from their account until parents decide it's time to play again, or until the block expires at the end of the day," Microsoft said.

It said this had been the top requested feature from parents, who previously had only been able to use the app to set time limits on total game time, rather than being able to lock and unlock the console at will.

Xbox said it's also adding extra functionality to its "Ask to Buy" feature, which is supposed to give parents more control over what games their children buy. Now, if a child tries to buy a game, a notification will come through to their parent via the app.
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Microsoft appears to have made these changes specifically with the holiday period in mind.

"With the holiday break on the horizon, many parents and caregivers may be looking for ways to help balance screen time and family time," the company said.
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