Microsoft has started rolling out the launch of the limited preview of its Family Safety app on iOS and Android devices.
For those unaware, in March this year, Microsoft rebranded the consumer versions of Office 365 to Microsoft 365 Personal and Family, and it introduced some new apps. One of them is the Family Safety app for Windows and Xbox devices, which is designed to help parents manage kids screen time and app usage, as well as ensure that their family is safe in the physical and digital worlds.
“With families working and learning from home, many of us are spending more time on our computers and phones and are looking for ways to ensure our loved ones are safe.
Microsoft Family Safety helps you to facilitate a dialogue with your kids about the time they are spending on their devices and type of content they are viewing,” Aimee Sudeck, Product Marketing Manager for Microsoft 365 writes.
“The app provides transparency on where everyone is spending time online and allows you to create flexible schedules to carve out more time for things like online learning. Additionally, it helps you stay connected even when you’re apart with location sharing. Our team is committed to bringing you additional physical safety features in the coming months, like safe driving, so as we go back to a new normal you can help protect your family across your whole life,” Sudeck added.
“With Microsoft Family Safety, family members can manage their data and information and who it is shared with. We work around the clock to help protect your information and will not sell your data.”
Let’s take a closer look as some of the features you can try in the preview version of Microsoft Family Safety for Android and iOS:
The app will give you information about your family’s activity, so you can have a conversation about what your kids are doing online and on their devices. View screen time, top websites visited, and terms kids are searching for online. You will also receive an email summary each week to help facilitate a dialogue on healthy digital choices.
Screen Time Limits
The app will allow you to set screen time limits across Windows and Xbox devices. You can set limits on specific apps or games and for things like online learning. For example, if you set a time limit of one hour of a certain game, it would only allow one hour of that game—whether it is being played on a Windows PC, Xbox, or Android phone. If kids run of screen time set by you, they can ask you for additional screen time. Additionally, you have the option to add more time or not based on what is right for your family.
The app lets you create a safe space for your kids to explore the Internet. You can set healthy boundaries with web and search filters to block mature content and set browsing to kid-friendly websites on Microsoft Edge.
The app also notifies you when your kids want to download a more mature app or game from the Microsoft Stores with age limits. Family Safety provides you with the tools to start talking about the kind of content that is right for your kids.
The Microsoft Family Safety app lets you see loved ones on a map with location sharing. With the location sharing feature, you can save places they visit the most, like home, work, or school, to know where family members are at glance.
Microsoft hasn’t announced when the app will be generally available in the App Store or Google Play Store. It, however, says that the app is available in the limited preview for up to a maximum of 10,000 users on both Android and iOS. Microsoft says it will be first reaching out to those who have already expressed interest.
“We have limited availability for additional users on Android and iOS and invite you to sign up. As a participant in the preview, you gain early access to the app and get to help shape the product by sharing feedback about your experience,” Microsoft said.
If you are interested in joining the preview, you can visit the Microsoft Family Safety Preview – Family Information and fill out the form. As part of the preview, Microsoft said it is “looking for families with children of all ages” who will “actively provide feedback”.