Microsoft Putting Parental Controls on Xbox 360

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is launching a new educational campaign to help parents take control of the games and other content their children consume using its new Xbox 360 video game console, an executive said on Wednesday.

The company is scheduled to lay out the strategy at DigitalLife, a consumer technology, gaming and entertainment show starting on Thursday in New York, Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft.'s Entertainment and Devices division, told Reuters.

Microsoft's move comes amid legislative efforts to ban violent and sexually explicit video game sales to minors and as the software giant works to expand its video game market beyond its core audience of young adults to the "tween" demographic between children and teens.

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The Xbox 360 debuted almost a year ago.

Like its predecessor the Xbox, it includes a family settings feature that lets parents and caregivers put restrictions on content their children access through the console, its Xbox Live online service and its Xbox Live Vision camera.

Most games for the Xbox 360 have ratings encrypted in their software, so a mother could program the console to block games carrying a "Mature" rating.

Adults also may choose to approve which friends their children communicate with over the system, or turn off voice and video chat.

"We're not in the content censorship business," said Bach, who said Microsoft, along with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and retailer Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY) is launching a 20-city bus tour to teach parents about its online safety tools while arming them with information about online safety and video game ratings.

"We should spend less time legislating and more time educating. Education is the key," Bach said.