10 Things Parents Need to Know About Xbox LIVE and Kids Safety

Xbox LIVE is the online sevice for the Xbox 360. With a paid gold membership and a set of headphones, your child can play online with a community of 40 million other users worldwide.

This can be seriously awesome for the gaming enthusiast in your house, but there are 10 important things parents should know about Xbox LIVE and keeping kids safe before setting it up for their child. 

  1. It's more than just a gaming site. Xbox LIVE users can also chat with each other, send and receive friend requests, and share their profile and gaming stats.

  2. Gamertags need to be chosen wisely. Never let your child use part of their name, hometown, or other identifying information in their gamertag.

  3. Profiles follow the child, not the console. A child can still access all his Xbox LIVE information from a friend's house.

  4. Kids can play games with strangers. Xbox LIVE has a “matchmaking” feature to help your child connect with gamers who have certain gamerscores or live in a certain location.

  5. People can privately chat with each other. Up to 8 people can play and talk all at once, but two of them can pair off and talk privately if they want to.

  6. You can make your permission mandatory. Through console controls, you can require your permission for your child to send and receive friend requests, accept game or chat invites, or buy Xbox merchandise.

  7. You can block who your child hears. You can choose “everyone,” “friends,” or “no one.”

  8. Parents are required to help their children set up an account. If your under-18 child has an account and you didn't help set it up, he or she is registered as an adult.

  9. Default settings vary by age. Child and teen accounts are mostly “friends only” by default and some features are blocked, but adult profiles are public and have full access to all features.

  10. Deactivating Xbox LIVE doesn't cancel the child's account. On the Xbox console there is a setting to disallow Xbox LIVE access from that console – but your child can still access it on others unless you cancel his account.

    Remember that the Xbox LIVE is more than just a video game, it's a social gaming universe. Always use the same Internet safety cautions as you would on any other social networking site, and if at all possible, sign up yourself and spend time playing with your child, too.

-Article contributed by Jenny Evans

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