How to Use Microsoft Screen Time to Set Time Limits for Your Child

According to a recent guide released by the World Health Organization, babies should not get any screen time at all, while children below the age of five should not spend more than one hour in front of screens every day. In fact, less screen time is better, says WHO.

This guideline repeats the advice given previously by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Hence, doctors urge parents and carers to set screen time limits for their children. Device manufacturers, such as Microsoft, have also started adding features that would monitor the safety of the children using their devices.

What Is Microsoft Screen Time?

The Microsoft Family Group is a free suite of features and settings that allow users to manage internet usage of their family members. Family Group makes it easier to connect with family members and protect kids from the negative effects of the internet.

One of the most useful features of Family Group is the capability to set screen time limits for kids. This feature applies to Windows 10, Android devices, and Xbox One devices running Microsoft software.

How to Set Screen Time Limits for Your Child

If you want to achieve a good balance between screen time and other activities for your child, you can set a schedule when kids can access the device.

To use this feature, you need to have a Microsoft account, create a Family group, and add each one of your family members to the group. Take note that you can only set a screen time for children’s accounts.

To set up screen time limits, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the Microsoft Family website and log in with your account information.
  2. Find your kid’s name in the list of family members, then click Screen time.
  3. If you want to set up the same schedule for all your devices, toggle Use one screen time schedule to On. Otherwise, you’ll have to set their schedules separately.
  4. Set how much time you want your child to use their devices, then set a schedule of when they are allowed to use them. For example, you can set a two-hour screen time between 10 AM and 5 PM.
  5. If you want to allow the child to use the maximum time you’ve scheduled, click Max scheduled.

You can also notify your kids when they’re using their Xbox device when their screen time is about to be used up. To do this:

  1. Press the Xbox button on the controller.
  2. Go to System > Settings > Preferences.
  3. Click Notifications > Xbox Notifications > System, then choose System notifications on.

When the screen time is running out, a message will pop up informing the user about it.

Problems with Microsoft Screen Time

This Microsoft feature is far from being absolute. Some problems with Microsoft screen time have been reported by users, ranging from notification failures to Microsoft screen time not working. There have also been instances when a child was able to bypass the screen time limit, which defeats the purpose of the feature.

Here are some things to consider when setting up your account to avoid confusion and problems with Microsoft screen time later on:

  • Set up your devices using your parent account so you can easily manage and control them.
  • Set up your kid’s account as Standard User’s, not Administrator’s. Admin accounts are able to bypass limits and edit settings on the device, which you don’t want to happen.
  • Enable User Account Control and set it as default.
  • The screen time limit feature starts the countdown when your child is signed in. The time starts to tick off after signing in and will continue to be tracked even if your child is not playing.
  • Each device has its own time limit. For example, if you set up a one-hour screen time limit for Windows 10 but your child can log in using the laptop and desktop computer, that means your child can play one hour each on these devices.

Troubleshooting Tips If Microsoft Screen Time Is Not Working

If you’re experiencing problems with Microsoft screen time, the first thing you need to do is check your settings. Sign in using your parent account and make sure that screen time is set up according to schedule.

Once you’ve verified that there’s nothing wrong with the settings, you can try the fixes below:

Fix #1: Reboot Your Device.

Some problems can be temporary or caused by a glitch in the system. Rebooting the device can solve minor problems with Microsoft screen time. Click Start > Power > Restart to refresh your operating system. Do not click Shut Down because it will just hibernate your device.

Fix #2: Delete Computer Trash.

Over time, temporary files, cache, and other unnecessary files accumulate on your computer and affect your processes. You can use a tool such as Outbyte PC Repair to delete all junk files that might be causing problems for Microsoft screen time.

Fix #3: Update Windows.

Microsoft releases new updates and features via Windows Update. The latest improvements for Microsoft screen time are available in Windows 10 version 15063 (Creators Update).

To update Windows 10:

  1. Click the Start menu, then choose Settings > Update & Security settings.
  2. Click Windows Update, then click the Check for updates button. 

If there are no updates to be installed, you should see the Your computer is up to date message. Otherwise, you’ll see a list of updates to be installed on your computer.

Install all available updates and reboot your computer for the changes to apply.

Fix #4: Verify Your Child’s Account.

There are times when your child’s Microsoft account expires on their device. When this happens, sign into the device using your child’s account, then go to https://aka.ms/familyverify. Follow the on-screen instructions to verify the account again.

Fix #5: Modify Battery Saver Feature.

There have been reports of children bypassing time limits by using the Battery feature. This is because some of the features fail to sync when there is not enough power.

To prevent this issue, you can restrict the use of the Battery Saver option on your devices by following these steps:

  1. On your computer, sign into your child’s device as an Administrator.
  2. Type group policy in the Start search box.
  3. Click Edit group policy from the results.
  4. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System.
  5. Click Power Management, then Energy Saver.
  6. Double-click Energy Saver Battery Threshold (on battery), then set it to Enabled.
  7. Set the value to 15. This means that Battery Saver will only kick off when the power reaches 15%.
  8. Click OK, then close the window.

If you want to edit your Battery Saver options, go back to the Group Policy editor and choose Not Configured instead of Enabled.

Summary

Too much screen time can be detrimental to your child’s physical, psychological, and mental health. This is why Microsoft and other tech giants are taking steps to provide parents with the capability to manage their child’s device usage.

Microsoft Screen Time is one of the family features parents can set up on devices running Microsoft software. This feature allows parents to schedule a time limit for each device. If you’re having problems with the screen time feature, just follow the fixes above to get it working again.

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