As of this writing, Microsoft Family Safety, doesn’t offer much for iOS devices, but Microsoft still has a lot to offer families. Many, many households have a mix of device platforms. If your family has any Windows, Xbox or Android devices, you will want to know about Microsoft 365 Family, and one of its features Microsoft Family Safety.
What do you get with Microsoft 365 Family? A lot! Keep in mind that Microsoft provides most of the features of Family Safety for free, but Microsoft 365 Family is an annual subscription that provides the following:
- Provides up to 6 people, up to 5 of devices per person
- Always up-to-date, desktop versions of Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, Publisher (PC and Mac with iOS and Android apps as well)
- 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage/backup per person accessible from all their devices
- Microsoft Family Safety
- Family Calendar
- The advanced security protection Microsoft has in Outlook and OneDrive
- Includes phone or chat support at no cost
- More features listed here.
- Cost: $99.99 per year or $9.99 per month. (There is also a FREE version that provides web only apps, less storage and still provides most of the Family Safety features- see the bottom of the Microsoft Family Safety page linked above for details)
If you price all of those things separately, you realize what a good value it is for the cloud storage alone, even without the Family Safety features. So, let’s talk about those now.
The key to security, as it applies to a family’s online safety and all technology for that matter, is layering. Microsoft Family Safety provides some of those layers for families with Windows, Xbox or Android devices. Microsoft is limited by what the Apple iOS will allow, so as of now, the only benefit for iOS devices with the Microsoft Family Safety app, is location and driving information. But for Windows, Xbox and Android devices, parents can set screen-time limits, control app and browser permissions as well as content filtering.
When you set up a Microsoft 365 Family account, you will assign one or more organizers to manage the members of the family, who will then be added. Each member of the family will need a Microsoft account and you will specify whether they are a child and set permissions and time limits for their devices including Xbox. Keep in mind if your child already has an Xbox, you and they may already have accounts.
In order to get the best experience on a Windows computer, you will want to tie the login(s) on the computer to those Microsoft accounts instead of a local account. If you have set up a new computer recently you may already have a Microsoft account on it because Microsoft has moved in the direction of Apple, where your account is connected to your computer. Having the computer tied to an account certainly improves your experience with Microsoft products especially when syncing across devices and allows for the best management of your child’s devices.