How To: Control the Apps and Games in your Child’s Windows Phone

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Despite the fact that Windows Phone 8 does not support you with a complete Parental Controls feature and you are also not able to create rules for the websites and the social networks that your child is allowed to use on its smartphone, it still provides you with a basic My Family feature. This feature allows you to select the kinds of apps and games that your child can download, purchase and use. Let’s take a closer look at this feature, in order to find out how it works

Before we start with the process, you should be aware of the following prerequisites:

  • The My Family feature is available only in Windows Phone 8, so your child should use a smartphone with it.
  • You and your child are required to have a Microsoft account. In case your child does not have an account, you will get the chance to create one, while setting up My Family.
  • Be aware that you will have to configure the Xbox games separately from the other games, installed in your child’s smartphone. If you want your child to have access to these games, you should first accept the Terms of Use, found on the Xbox website.
  • If you are located in the United States and you have a child under thirteen years old, you will probably be charged with a small fee, in order to prove that you are an adult. In case you want to learn more, go to this website.

Now let’s get started.

Set My Family so that your Child can Download Free Games and Apps

  • First of all, you should go to the My Family section on the Windows Phone website.

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  • Then sign in with your Microsoft account.

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  • In case you set up your child’s account for the first time, you will get a Get Started link. If you have already configured a child’s account, you will notice the Add a Kid link. Click on it.

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  • After this, you will be asked to sign in with your child’s Microsoft account. Click Go to continue.

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  • Use the credentials of your child’s account to login. Note that this should be the same account that your child uses on its Windows Phone 8 smartphone.

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  • In the next page you will notice two sections, Parents and Kids. In the Kids section you will see a Windows Phone Store Terms of Use not accepted message, in case you have not yet allowed your child to download and install apps from the Windows Phone Store.

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As far as you do not accept those terms, your child will not be able to download and install apps or games on its Windows Phone smartphone. If your child tries to download an app from the Windows Phone Store, a message will show up, asking you for permission: The Store Terms of Use must be accepted before you can buy this item. Ask your parent to go to windowsphone.com to accept the Store’s Terms of Use. 

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  • In the Kids section, right next to your child’s name you will notice a link named Fix it. Click on it, so that you can accept the Windows Phone Store terms of use for your child’s account.
  • Once you clicked on it, you will be redirected to new page, where you will have to check the I have read and accept the Terms of Use for [ the child’s account ] box. Then click Save.

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  • When you finish this process, you will return back to the My Family page. You will see that your child is now able to download free apps and games from the Windows Phone Store.

Allow or Block your Child from Downloading paid Apps

  • If you want to have additional control on the apps and games that your child downloads from the Windows Phone Store, click the Update link, which is next to your child’s name on the My family page.
  • Once you do it, a pop-up screen will appear, showing you a few additional options.

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  • Here you will notice in the App + game downloads section that your child is allowed to download only free apps and games by default. In other words, your child cannot download paid apps and games, nor make in-app or in-game purchases. If you want to change this setting and grant your child access to paid apps and games, check the Allow free and paid box. Then close the pop-up screen and the changes will apply automatically.

Set the Type of Games your Child can Play in Windows Phone 8

  • In the Settings pop-up screen, right beneath the App + game downloads section, you will be able to configure the Game rating filter. Although this option is not so safe for your child, you can turn it off by setting the Game rating filter switch to Off. After this action, your child will be able to download and install games with any ratings.

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  • If you want to allow your child to download and play unrated games, check the Allow unrated games option, which is on the bottom of the Settings pop-up screen.
  • Finally, if you want to change the game rating, click the Microsoft Family Safety Settings link.

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As you noticed from this tutorial, you can easily set the kinds of apps and games that your child can download and operate. Although this Windows Phone feature does not fully support you, it surely helps you to control the apps and games, which your kid can have access to. Go ahead and try it out!