“Safe While Gaming Guide” is a content series including tips, strategies and tutorials about protecting yourself during online multi-player gaming sessions and other online activities on your gaming systems and platforms. It is also detailing features and policies on how to report abuse, inappropriate behavior, harassment/stalking, and other bad behavior. This guide is not exclusive to consoles.
The following entry guides you on how to keep yourself and your family safe while you game online with Xbox Live and on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Microsoft Xbox Live Code of Conduct serves as a beacon that states the rules of how to interact with Xbox.com, Xbox Live and Games for Windows and stay in-check with preserving the gaming community with respect and fun. The Code of Conduct was last updated in July 2013 and will probably be updated again once the Xbox One is ready for launch later this year. Here are some steps to prepare yourself once you obtain the Xbox One/Xbox 360 and some rules outlined in the Code of Conduct:
Privacy and Safety Settings
Xbox has the best privacy and family settings I have ever seen especially with the new improvements over the years that coincided with the Xbox 360 home screens and updates. The first things you need to do:
- Read the Manual. You’ll know where the settings are located if you take the time to read the manual first.
- Look for the Privacy and Family Settings in the System menu. You’ll want to set this up before you start playing anything. You may have to set up an account first but once you finish, go to your settings.
The Privacy settings is to help you create and control the experience you want to have on the Xbox One/Xbox 360. The Family settings is to control activities and experiences available to your children. What type of settings can you control in both?
There’s four different type of settings you can control:
- Activity Settings
- online gameplay, voice and text, video communication, and more
- Privacy Settings
- Profile sharing, Kinect Sharing, Social network sharing and more
- Content Settings
- filtering, content filtering, and more
- Opt-in Settings
- Xbox and Partner Marketing
All of which can be controlled with three type of accounts: Adults, Teen and Child. For a look at the full chart of each type of setting and description, visit here.
You can set parental controls for Xbox One/Xbox 360 and Xbox Live by customizing your family’s access to games, movies, music and television content. It can be also used to control access to the console as well as Xbox Live.
Here’s what you can specifically control:
- Ratings and content
- Family Timer
- Xbox Live Access
- Xbox Live Membership Creation
To view screenshots and steps to these settings, visit the Parental Controls page.
Complaints System, Player Feedback and Harassment
Some gamers may feel that the Xbox 360’s complaint system and harassment policies are very lax. Nevertheless here are some rules and procedures to combat bad behavior:
- File a complaint if you believe the player is violating the Code of Conduct. Don’t know how to file a complaint? View Account Suspensions and Console Bans page.
- Give negative feedback and/or Avoid Player. This can be done by selecting the player’s profile and choosing the Feedback option. View Submit Player Review page to see how to do this.
- Use the Block Communications feature.
- Do not retaliate. If you act out it could be considered harassment.
- Mute the player. Some games may come with its own mute feature.
Xbox 360’s Harassment rules pretty much states what NOT to do. But here’s a few tips in case you find yourself harassed:
- Ask the person to cease their verbal abuse and communications with you either through the voice chat during the session or through private message. Hey, you never know!
- If the person does not cease in his trolling efforts, get a paper and pen/pencil and write these down: The bully’s Gamertag name, Real name if shown, the time and date incident(s) occurred, transcript of what is being said, private messages outgoing and incoming with the troll. If you have witnesses during the incidents, send them private messages and ask them if they can provide contact information to be used for filing a complaint and for witness testimony. Get their Gamertags names as well.
- Block them in every way possible. Don’t just block them straight away, make sure you get any and all information on the troll(s) before blocking them so you’ll have ample amount of information to report a complaint.
- File the complaint, call support and write letters, any of those you have to do to get this troll banned
- Notify the police. I know it may sound like overkill but people are KILLING THEMSELVES over these trolls. Give the police all the information you have collected from your own notes and Xbox support because Xbox can give the real name and personal information of a user on Xbox Live since their credit card is attached to the account. The police can follow up with this and contact the user of the account or credit card holder.
- Write a blog post or do a video on Youtube and shout-out that troll’s name and game(s) they were playing so that you can make people aware to stay away from them.
Protecting Your Account and Personal Information
You can make your account more secure by checking out the Account Security page. However, here’s some of my tips for you:
- If you don’t want people to know your real name, your location, and other personal information, then DO NOT PUT IT IN THE PROFILE. Put fake information in there to fill up your Xbox Live profile.
- You must know that once you create an account, all your information could be stolen. This means credit card and personal information.
- If you want to be a very private person, then don’t create social and gaming accounts because today’s account ask for a lot more information then they did 5-10 years ago.
If your account was hacked (and not if you found out Xbox Live was hacked but your personal account was hacked), here’s some quick thinking to minimize damage:
- Call up your credit card or debit card holder and cancel the account. Tell them it was comprised by a hack on Xbox Live.
- If you still have access to your Xbox Live account, notify your friends that you were hacked and to not respond to any messages asking for their personal information.
- Try to migrate any game saves to a SD or memory card in case you need to wipe out your system.
- Contact Xbox Support and let them know you were hacked and what information and settings may have been tampered with.
If you find out Xbox Live as a whole was hacked, definitely follow the first step so that the hackers cannot use your credit information because most likely that is what they are after.
Visit the Code of Conduct to read the full privacy and safety guidelines.
Visit the Privacy Statement page.
Visit Xbox Support page.
Future Xbox One/Xbox 360 Guide Updates
This guide for Xbox 360 and Xbox One Gaming Safety is updated when Microsoft updates their policies. As Xbox One launches this year, Microsoft will have their Online safety policies ready therefore expect an update.
Update: The updated Xbox One Privacy Guide is now available. Please view Cut 1: Account and Personal Information and Cut 2: Kinect, Xbox Media, and Video Uploading Privacy. Cut 3: Xbox Live, Social and Family Consent is coming soon. View the entire series.
Have more tips and strategies to add to protect yourself while gaming on the Xbox 360 or Xbox One? Let me know in the comments or shoot me a tweet to @qathornton.