Microsoft announced it is adding new features to its Xbox Family Settings app that will let parents have better control over the manner their kids are gaming via the Xbox consoles or purchasing new games. The timing of the launch is interesting considering that it is the holiday season fast approaching and kids will likely be spending more time with their Xbox consoles.

Among the changes to be introduced include a new Pause Screen that parents can use as a leveraging tool to make kids complete other tasks of more immediate importance. Those can be like getting studies or homework done on time or forcing the kids to spend some time with the family.

Once the kids have obliged, parents can then remove the temporary block imposed on an account to let the kids resume with their games. Blocking an account or unblocking the same is going to be easy as all of it can be done via the app itself. Or, there is going to be the option to unblock an account at the end of the day itself.

In the latter scenario, the kids will have a days’ time to complete all pending tasks so that they are able to start playing again by night-time. However, attempting to play while the block is still on will lead to a notification be shown that will inform the user that they do not have that privilege at the moment.

The new Pause Screen feature will be on top of the features currently available on the app that allows parents to set the amount of time that kids can be allowed to play using Xbox console. The app was first announced around the middle of this year but was eventually launched only in September. The upcoming update expected right before the holidays will no doubt find favor with the parent as they will have even greater control over how they wish their kids to play via the console.

In fact, there is going to be a new ‘Ask to Buy‘ feature as well in the Xbox Family Setting app, which when turned on will serve a notification to the parents about their kids intending to make a purchase from the Xbox Marketplace. The parents can then learn more about the game being purchased.

This way, the kids will be barred from making a purchase without approval from their parents. However, the purchase can still be made only if that is done using a gift card or using any amount available in the account balance.