launching its Family Safety app today for new screen time for children and parental controls. A preview of the app had arrived earlier this spring.
The app has been designed so parents can better understand their children's use of screen time, create screen time schedules for them, set limits, configure boundary settings across web access, and use other helpful controls.
This new app by Microsoft is going to work better for users who have access to the company's products and services such as Windows 10 PCs and Xbox devices.
Like other screen time apps, Microsoft's Family Safety has an activity log that shows screen time usage by children. The app tracks the number of hours spent on the devices, websites, and apps. It also displays terms that children are searching for online.
In addition to that, the app also emails a weekly report to parents, so they can discuss healthy use of screen time for their kids. The app is especially helpful in the current time of a pandemic, when kids are attending school from home and have a lot of leisure time to spend on their devices. It has made parents' task of monitoring their children's online activities more complicated than before. A lot of parents are reconsidering healthy amount of screen time for their children and trying to figure out how much screen time is too much.
The Family Safety app is going to make it easier for parents to deal with this matter and set screen time limits that apply across devices. When children run out of the set screen time, they can request for more and parents can choose whether they want them to have more or not.
The app will also allow parents to control search filters and block mature content. If a child tries to go against the controls, such as downloading mature content, the app will send a notification to the parents about the activity.
Moreover, parents can also control purchases through the app by granting approval to kids' requests. The app also comes with built-in location sharing, so parents wouldn't have to download additional family locator apps.
Ever since Microsoft previewed the Family Safety app, it has been adding new features to it, such as blocking and unblocking specific apps, a location clustering feature, and an expanded set of options to grant more screen time. In addition to that, accessibility options in the app have also been improved.
One drawback of the app is that certain features of it do not completely extend to iOS and Android, for instance purchase controls and web filtering. This is because of how other platforms have their own operating systems and ecosystems locked down in order to encourage users to rely on their devices only.
Microsoft has stated that it will continue to add even more new features to Family Safety after it is launched, such as location alert and drive safety. The app is currently available as free download for iOS and Android.