Microsoft on Tuesday announced the launch of its Microsoft Family Safety app for iOS and Android platforms. The company said that the Family Safety app is designed to aid users in protecting their family’s digital and physical safety. The app offers weekly digital activity reports along with enabling users to limit screen time for certain activities. Further, the company said that the users can set web and search filters on the Family Safety app while also enabling purchase request emails to avoid bill shocks. Crucially, the Microsoft Family Safety app also offers location sharing that enables users to view the last known location of the family members.
Microsoft Family Safety App Features Weekly Report, Web Filters
The company said that the weekly digital activity report would be emailed to both parents and kids. The report is said to contain total screen time, followed by individual screen time of apps and games along with the section for most visited websites during the week.
The app also enables parents to limit screen time for certain apps and games with the parents having an option to limit the screen time on weekdays, weekends or every single day.
“These limits give my kids the flexibility to be on their devices more for learning but help keep them focused by limiting the amount of time they can spend on other apps and games,” Liat Ben-Zur, corporate vice president, Modern Life, Search and Devices, said in a release.
The web and search filters are said to aid parents in blocking adult content while also enabling the browsing to kid-friendly websites with either allowed list or blocked websites list.
The purchase request email is said to offer parents a chance to approve or reject purchase requests from kids on app store purchases.
Family Safety App Focuses on Physical Safety Along with Digital Safety
The company highlighted that the Family Safety app enables users to stay connected in the physical world as well as the digital world. The app is said to aid users to save locations such as home while also offering users to view the last known locations of family members “at a glance.”
The company also said that the family location data “will not be sold or shared with insurance companies or data brokers.”
Several elements of the Family Safety app such as screen time limits and web filters are said to work well within the Microsoft ecosystem such as Microsoft Edge browser, Windows and Xbox. The purchase request is also said to work only with the Microsoft Stores and Xbox.
While the content filter currently works with Android devices in addition to Microsoft devices, the company said that it is “in the process of working to bring digital safety features to iOS.”
Further, the company said that two premium features will be introduced "in the coming months" as part of the Microsoft 365 Family subscription including “drive safety” and location alerts.
The drive safety feature is said to offer insights into driving behavior in select countries such as the US, UK, Australia and Canada.
Meanwhile, the location alert is said to offer notifications to users when a family member arrives or leaves a specific location.
It has to be noted that the Microsoft Family Safety app competes with the built-in apps of Apple and Google with the latter also releasing a standalone app on Google Play and App Store.