How to Configure Parental Controls on the Xbox 360

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Parental controls are settings you, as a parent, can impose on gaming console systems like the Xbox 360 and Sony Playstation, among others. By configuring and enabling parental controls, you stay in control of what your children play on their gaming systems. It’s important to use accounts to really lock down systems, so if you use Xbox Live or another gaming system that allows you to create accounts, do so. With multiple accounts, you can configure parental controls as needed for each account. Remember to assign passwords to your account though!

How to Configure Parental Controls on the Xbox 360

Follow these steps to enable parental controls:

1. Open the Xbox Dashboard. You can get there using the left stick on your controller.

2. Navigate to System, and then Family Settings.

3. Select Console Controls. (Use the green A button.)

4. Select Game Ratings.

5. Choose the maximum ESRB rating level you want to allow. (For more information about ESRB ratings read Understanding the ESRB Video Game Rating System.) Note that in choosing a maximum rating, your child can play that rating and anything below it.

6. Select Set Pass Code. Enter a desired code.

7. Select Done, and Done again to save the settings and the code.

8. Click Yes, Save Changes to activate parental controls.

Tips and Tricks

The Xbox 360’s Console Controls also offer the following:

  • A timer to limit how much the Xbox can be used daily or weekly.
  • An option to apply parental controls to movie DVDs that contain an MPAA rating.
  • Configure settings for Xbox Live, a Microsoft online service. With Xbox Live, you can define what kind of access your child has to online games in the Xbox Live family and even who your children can communicate with when playing online games.
  • HIde content you’ve “restricted” like movie demos, movie trailers, and even downloadable games.


  • It is the author’s experience that parents can control, with minimal effort, what games their children play on their game consoles.