Microsoft Family Safety for Android – Review of Parent and Kid’s Settings

To track kid’s activity and location, Microsoft Family Safety app gives you the controls. In Oct 2020, it has some premium features with Office 365 subscription. This parental control app competes with other apps on Android.

The following are the special features of this app with paid usage

  • See your family on the map
  • Set balance screen time limits and get weekly activity reports
  • Filter content so it’s age appropriate
  • Set arriving and departing alerts
  • Build safer driving habits with detailed drive reports (US, CA, UK, and AU only)

The app is perfect to monitor the member activities of the family group, which includes child accounts.

The organizer (parent) can check the browsing activity of children, limit screen time on different devices, set limits on app usage, block apps, visualize screen time activity, track child’s location on maps and improve kid safety.

App – Introduction

Microsoft Family Safety app for Android has 100K+ downloads with 3.5 star rating from 1K reviews. The file is 29MB in size on Redmi Note 4. Microsoft Office 365 comes with a premium subscription of Rs 530/monthly or Rs 5299 for annual subscription. The latest version in Android is 1.2.2.569.

Once you install the free app, tap on “Get Started” to sign-in with your Microsoft account or create a new one on the next screen. The Sign-in options allow you to login using your Github account.

All location features and screen time rely on the app running in the background. You can allow Family Safety to prioritize features like location sharing, even when battery is low.

Microsoft Family Safety – Free version

The free version of this app supports –

  • See your family on the map
  • Set healthy screen time limits and content restriction.

In Android phones like Redmi K30 Pro, parental monitoring can be done using the Family link app. Settings in the mobile have “Digital Wellbeing & Parental Controls”. But if all the family members are using Microsoft accounts, then the Safety app is more suitable.

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The app was prompting to skip battery optimizations. This may reduce battery life, if you have turned on the location features of your phone. So, if the kid uses your phone, it is better to switch it off at home and turn on when he goes out. This is generally for old phones like Samsung Galaxy S20, M51 and F41.

If you have purchased Microsoft related hardware like Xbox One, Surface tablets, laptops and Windows 10 devices, then its parental app is suitable for you.

How much time is spent on each device – Windows 10, Xbox, Android?

All this can be tracked with a single permission from the member (child). The app can track the time spent on each device, including Windows 10 laptops, mobile phones and Xbox.

Once you create a family group as an organizer of Microsoft account, you can add additional members of the family.

Settings

  • Click on the 3 horizontal lines on the top left.
  • Then, click on “Settings”.
  • This will show all the Family members.
  • It will display who is the “Organizer” and “Member” in the family group.

If you click the particular role, you can see the different options available.

Once you turn on location sharing mode, you can see it below your name, in the Family Safety app.

Add places to your profile, to visit them later or make it as a default location.

What Parent can see of the Kid in Microsoft Family Safety

There are two modes to see your family – List and Map. You can also add someone to the family using the app feature.

Click on any member (kid or child) of your family in list mode.

Today and Last 7 days activity of the child can be seen.

Screen Time

  • This card will show the day wise distribution of device usage in hours and minutes. (Last 7 days option)
  • You can also edit limits here.
  • Set screen time limit for devices, apps and games.
  • Use one schedule for all devices.
  • Otherwise, set a time limit for each device.
  • For example, the default allowed time limit for Windows 10 is 7am to 7pm. You can change it for each day.
  • You can also add additional time for each day. Block him for the complete day, if the kid uses too much Xbox One.
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Apps and Games

Once you give usage access to Family Safety on your phone, it can track all the apps used by your kid.

This will include both Android PlayStore and Windows 10 Store apps.

For example, as a parent I use MoneyControl, Analytics, Authenticator apps for my stocks, mutual funds, traffic analysis, security and gold prices. You can set app limits or completely block the app usage for your kid. Select the days of the week, from and to timings.

Apps and Games card

This will show the most used apps by the kid. For example, my family member is using Zoom, Microsoft Edge, Windows Maps, OneDrive, Family Safety mostly on his phone.

Since kids are doing online classes in these COVID-19 times, Zoom app is used for more than 2 hours on a particular day.

 

Web Activity

What websites were visited by the kid can also be seen in this card. Click on “See all” to see all the list of sites visited. The top websites with the number of views below each site are also mentioned.

 

If there are any blocked websites, that are also visible here.

Search Activity

This will show the total number of searches done in Bing. It is useful to know if the kid is searching for costly items or drug dealers kind of things. This is kind of snooping into the kid’s activity on the web.

Map

Image Source : Microsoft

Settings

When you click the gear icon on the top-right-hand corner of the app, it will list the summary of options and permissions given by the kid to the parent.

A member can be both child and adult. Their age allows them to turn activity reporting on or off. To use app and game limits, ask them to turn activity reporting on.

Screen and Digital Health

  1. Activity reporting
  2. App and game limits
  3. Web and search filters
  4. Apps
  5. Location

You can restrict the app and game usage based on age rating.

How to Log-out of the Microsoft Family Safety App in Android

  • Tap the 3 horizontal lines on the top left hand side
  • Tap on Settings.
  • Next screen, Tap on your name.
  • On the next screen, Tap on “Sign out
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What Kid can see in Microsoft Family Safety App

There are two tabs in the kid account.

  1. You  2. Map

You can see your screen time activity for today and the 7 days period. But you cannot set limits, as you are not the organizer. Everything that is visible in the organizer window can also be seen here. But as a member you cannot set limits and edit any permissions.

When you click the “Map” tab, you can see your location on the map. You can also see the permissions needed for this to work. The following two permissions are required –

  1. Set Location to ON or Always
  2. Let the app run in the background.

Content filters like the age restriction for apps and games. Is the web and search activity turned on, can be seen here.

Drive safety

If you are driving with Microsoft 365 family, you can build safe driving habits together, even if you are not in the same vehicle. Get drive details like – top speed, phone use, mapped routes.

This is a premium feature.

When you click on settings, your age allows your turn activity reporting on or off.  This will give permission to the organiser to set limits on apps and games and also adjust other settings.

 

Conclusion

At the end of the day, Microsoft Family Safety app for Android is for group members of a Microsoft account. If you are using the same set of devices, then it can be easy to track its usage. The important feature of this app, that it allows to track kid location.

Especially useful for kids below 10 years of age.  As a parent, if you are at work and want to find the location of the kid at school or at a friend’s house, then it is super-useful. Since young kids cannot tamper with the settings, it should not worry you much.

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