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Microsoft launches Family Safety, a parental control and location-tracking app

Microsoft 365: A subscription to make the most of your time

As more of the world heads online for work and school and play, online safety has become a priority. Children, teens, and young adults are spending more time on their devices, which can be worrisome for parents for many reasons.

Microsoft is here to help with the official launch of a new Family Safety app for iOS and Android. After a preview phase, the app is now available as a free download and will also be included as part of the Microsoft 365 family subscription. Its key features are centered around limiting screen time, setting boundaries, and more.

Through the app, parents and kids can receive a weekly activity report, which is an email with highlights of the child’s digital activity for the past seven days. Additionally, parents can also use the app to set app, screen, and playtime limits across Microsoft’s apps and services. These include the Microsoft Edge browser on Windows, Xbox game consoles, and the Microsoft Launcher app on Android.

When it comes to the web, parents can also use the Family Safety app to set up search and web filters. This allows parents to block out adult content and set browsing to child-safe websites. And, for those moments where apps or games might ask for in-app purchases, parents can set up az purchase request permission for when a child wants to buy things through the Microsoft Store.

“These limits give my kids the flexibility to be on their devices more for learning but help keep them focused by limiting the amount of time they can spend on other apps and games,” said Liat Ben-Zur, Corporate Vice President, Modern Life, Search, and Devices at Microsoft.

Family Safety also expands beyond the digital world, too. It features the ability to share location, so family members will be able to see where they are in real-time on a map. Microsoft says that this information, and any information through the app, is secure and protected.

“Unlike other location-tracking apps, your family’s location data will not be sold or shared with insurance companies or data brokers,” said Liat Ben-Zur.

Just like Microsoft Teams, and Windows 10, the Family Safety app will be an evolving experience. Microsoft is planning to introduce new premium features to it in the future. These include “drive safety” to help parents and teens build better driving habits behind the wheel.

Also in works is location alerts, for when a family member leaves a specific location. And, for iOS users, Microsoft is planning on porting the digital safety features from the Android version of the app so parents can use it to set screen time and content filters on iPhones.

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