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Here are the most common issues you might encounter with family safety features and how to resolve them.

For Windows devices: 

  • Check for the latest Windows update: Select Start Settings  > Update & security > Windows Update  > Check for updates and install any available updates. 

  • Try rebooting your family’s devices: Select Start > Power > Restart.

  • Set their account as a standard user: Your child might be set as an Administrator on the device. As an administrator they can change or break the Family Safety settings. Select > Settings  > Accounts > Family & other users > Choose your child's account > Change account type > In the dialog choose Standard user and select ok to save the change. 

  • Sign in: Make sure your child is signed in with their Microsoft account on their device. 

  • Verify that your child's Microsoft account didn't expire: Have them sign in with their Microsoft account on their device. Select Start  > Settings > Accounts Select Verify and follow the prompts to verify their account. If you don't see the Verify option, open Microsoft Edge  on their device and verify the account at https://aka.ms/familyverify.

  • Your child may have turned off activity reporting: Kids who are 13* or older have the ability to "opt out" of sharing usage data with adults in their family. Check their activity reporting settings at family.microsoft.com or on the Family Safety mobile app. If activity reporting has been turned off, then your child has opted out, and you will need to regain their consent before you can turn it back on.

*Age 13 in the United States. This age may be different in other countries based on local regulations.

  • The activity shown does not seem to match what I see in real life: Time limits are enforced based on when they are signed in (even idle time), but idle time is not counted in the device usage report.  For example, if your child's allowance is 2 hours, and they sign in and don't do anything, the child would be locked out after 2 hours, but the device usage report may show as little as 1 minute of usage.

Additionally, if your time zone is set incorrectly, then device usage may show up under a different day in your activity report. You can validate the time zone on your Microsoft account to make sure activity reports are showing usage accurately.

  • Requests for screen time are granted automatically: If it seems like screen time limits might be getting away from you, it's possible that your kids are signing in to your Microsoft account themselves. We recommend that you use a complex password for your Microsoft account.

  • Screen time limits are not working:  Time limits are enforced based on when they are signed in (even idle time), but idle time is not counted in the device usage report. For example, if your child's allowance is 2 hours, and they sign in and don't do anything, the child would be locked out after 2 hours, but the device usage report may show as little as 1 minute of usage. Additionally, using multiple apps concurrently may contribute to high device usage. Our app specific usage may not add up to total device time usage.

For Xbox consoles: 

  • Make sure everyone signs in correctly: Xbox allows multiple users to sign in at once. It can help to make sure each user signs in with a PIN (so family members are not able to log in with another user’s credentials to bypass the settings).

  • Use content restrictions: When your kid's time is up, and they are signed out, they will still be able to access certain apps and games.  Use the Signed-out content restrictions feature to limit what they can do when nobody is signed in.

  • Youngest child age restrictions: If more than one user is signed in, the youngest child or family member's age restrictions will take effect for games. A parent can bypass the limit, or just sign out the youngest family member's account.

  • Sign out to save screen time: Any time a child is signed in, their screen timer is counting down, even if a game is paused, or they are not actively participating while someone else plays. They will want to make sure to sign out when they’re done to save their screen time

For Android phones:

  • Android device screen time is not yet supported but you can still set screen time limits on their apps and games.

Set app and game limits

Get more help

We do our best to make the Family Safety experience great but sometimes there could be issues, and we want to help resolve them.

 Chat with support 

If you have the Family Safety mobile app open and are experiencing issues, you can send us feedback or your logs and we'll review. 

Send an error log from the Family Safety mobile app: 

Tap the home icon > Help & Feedback > Underneath troubleshooting select Send logs

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