In the last decade, spatio-temporal database research focuses on the design of effective and efficient indexing structures in support of location-based queries such as predictive range queries and nearest neighbor queries. While a variety of indexing techniques have been proposed to accelerate the processing of updates and queries, not much attention has been paid to the updating protocol, which is another important factor affecting the system performance. In this paper, we propose a generic and adaptive updating protocol for moving object databases with less number of updates between objects and the database server, thereby reducing the overall workload of the system. In contrast to the approach adopted by most conventional moving object database systems where the exact locations and velocities last disclosed are used to predict their motions, we propose the concept of Spatio-temporal safe region to approximate possible future locations. Spatio-temporal safe regions provide larger space of tolerance for moving objects, freeing them from location and velocity updates as long as the errors remain predictable in the database. To answer predictive queries accurately, the server is allowed to probe the latest status of objects when their safe regions are inadequate in returning the exact query results. Spatio-temporal safe regions are calculated and optimized by the database server with two contradictory objectives: reducing update workload while guaranteeing query accuracy and efficiency. To achieve this, we propose a cost model that estimates the composition of active and passive updates based on historical motion records and query distribution. More system performance improvements can be obtained by cutting more updates from the clients, when the users of system are comfortable with incomplete but accuracy bounded query results. We have conducted extensive experiments to evaluate our proposal on a variety of popular indexing structures. The results confirm the viability, robustness, accuracy and efficiency of our proposed protocol.