How to set parental controls on your console

Our step-by-step guide for Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch!

18 Aug 2021

There are lots of reasons why gaming is great for your kids- entertaining them, keeping them connected with friends and even improving their focus. But, as with anything, you can have too much of a good thing! And what’s okay for adult gamers isn’t necessarily right for little ones.

Parental controls on consoles are a really great way to make sure your kids stay happy and healthy while gaming. Plus, each child can be managed individually – so you don’t have to give you teenager the same restrictions as your primary schooler.

But how do you do it? Well, it depends on what console you’re using: Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo Switch.

 

How to set up parental controls on Xbox

A child holding an Xbox Series S|X controller up to the camera

How to get started:

Xbox have an app that makes it easy to manage the time your kids spend on their Xbox One or Series S|X. All you need to do is…

  1. Download the Xbox Family Settings app onto your phone or tablet either through the Apple App Store or Google Play.
  2. Once you’re in the app, sign-in with an Xbox profile or create one.
  3. All signed in? You’ll be asked to either add any other organisers (that’s another guardian) or any children you want to manage.
  4. Any organisers or kids you add will need their own account too- but don’t worry, the app will help you create it if they don’t already have one.

 

What you can do:

  • See activity reports: Through the app you can check out daily or weekly activity reports. That way you can see if they’re spending too much time on one particular game.
  • Set screen time: Set a time range for your kids to play on their Xbox. You can even customize it to different days of the week- like if you want to keep them focused on their homework Monday through Friday but are more relaxed on the weekend and holidays.
  • Pause screen time: Need a timeout? When you pause your kid’s screen time, they’ll get a message saying ‘your screen time is up’ until you’re ready for them to play again.
  • Enable Minecraft: Some parents or schools use Minecraft as way to help their kids study (see our educational Minecraft builds) so if you want to make an exception for Minecraft, you can.
  • Manage spending: View their spending, check how much money your child has in their Xbox account and add extra cash as a reward or allowance. Activate ‘Ask to Buy’ and you’ll get a notification in the app when they ask to buy a game, app or in-game purchase they don’t have the funds for.
  • Choose Xbox friends: Put a stop to stranger danger! See your child’s friend list, remove friends or turn on a setting that means children have to ask for your permission before adding a new friend.
  • Set permissions for online play: Choose whether your child can play online and who with – just their friends or anyone who’s online.

 

How to set up parental controls on PlayStation

A child playing a PS5 with a DualShock controller

How to get started:

With a PS5 or PS4, things are a little different. Instead of an app, you can set up or change parental controls through your browser or using the console itself.

Here’s how to get it sorted on a web browser:

  1. Sign-in or create a PlayStation Network (PSN) account
  2. Go to Account Management > Family Management > Add Family Member
  3. Choose the Add a Child option
  4. Now you’ll be asked to give their name and birthday so that you can create their own account.
  5. Click Next and the user agreement will pop up. Once you’ve accepted, you’ll get on-screen instructions showing you how to set up parental controls for your kid.

Or if you’re doing it through your PS4:

  1. Sign-in or create a PlayStation Network (PSN) account
  2. Go to Settings > Family and Parental Controls > Family Management > Add Family Member
  3. Choose Add Family Member > Create User.
  4. Now you’ll be asked to give their name and birthday so that you can create their own account.
  5. Click Next and the user agreement will pop up. Once you’ve accepted, you’ll get on-screen instructions showing you how to set up parental controls for your kid.

or your PS5 console:

  1. Create a PlayStation Network (PSN) account for you and for each of your kids.
  2. Go to Settings > Family and Parental Controls > Family Management > Add Family Member
  3. A QR code will appear, scan it using your phone to set up your child’s account.
  4. Once the account’s all set up, go to Settings > Family and Parental Controls > Family Management > Parental Controls
  5. Choose the child whose controls you want to edit and there should be a bunch of different settings to tweak.

 

What you can do:

  • Change Playtime: ‘Playtime’ is what PlayStation call screen time. So you can choose just how long kids get on their PS and on what days. You can even choose just how hard that finish is – with kids either getting a notification that their Playtime’s over or being automatically logged out.
  • Set age rating levels for games, apps, content and browsing: It’s up to you to decide which games are too mature for your children – any that go above the age range you choose will be automatically filtered out.
  • Pick allowed games: Maybe your teen’s dying to play the latest game with their friends… but it’s above the rating you’ve chosen. They can make a request to allow that specific game- it’s up to you whether you accept or deny.
  • Reset their password: If you need to change their PSN account password for any reason, you can.
  • Set a spending limit: You’re in control of the family manager wallet. If you want, kids can only spend up to a certain amount in the PlayStation Store for things like games, apps or movies.
  • Choose custom or preset parental controls: Don’t want to fiddle with every setting? Choose a preset for late teens, early teens and children. You can always go back in and customise them if you want to change anything.

 

How to set up parental controls on Nintendo Switch

A child sitting at a kitchen table playing a Nintendo Switch with a bowl of crisps next to them

How to get started:

Like with Xbox, you can watch over their gaming time with an easy-to-use app. This works for both Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite.

  1. Download the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app, either on the App Store or Google Play.
  2. On the app, either create or sign-in to your Nintendo Account.
  3. You’ll get a prompt asking you to confirm that your Switch will be registered to the app.
  4. The app will give you a registration code so that you link your console and app together. Keep the code.
  5. On your Switch or Switch Lite, open System Settings > Parental Controls > Parental Control Settings
  6. Choose the option that says I have the app installed. What next? > Enter Registration Code
  7. Enter the code you got from the app and select Register.
  8. Now that they’re linked you can control all kinds of settings right from the app on your phone.

 

What you can do:

See activity reports: Check out what your child’s been up to with daily or monthly play reports on what they’ve been playing and for how long.

Set screen time: Give your kids a set time to play. When they’ve gone past their limit, an alarm will go off on their Nintendo Switch. Kids not keeping to their limit? You can check on the app and even select the Suspend Software option to make the game shut off automatically when their time’s up.

Set age rating levels for games: Choose from Teen, Child, Young Child and Custom settings to set the age limit. Games that are a higher PEGI rating than they’re age will be blocked.

Choose who your kids can talk to: Don’t want your child exchanging messages or pictures with someone? You can set general restrictions or set them for specific games.

Restrict screenshots: Maybe your child has a sliiightly different idea of privacy than you do. If that’s the case, you can restrict their ability to post screenshots from their Nintendo Switch on social media.

 

Need advice?

If you’re thinking about getting a console for the kids, we’re more than happy to help! Pop in to see us in-store or talk to us on ShopLive.

Shop games consoles

Related in Gaming news

Top tech to keep the kids happy all summer

08 Jun 2021

Tips to get creative with your kids

01 Jun 2021

4 wow-worthy and educational Minecraft builds

23 Mar 2021

Keep your kids safe with this top tech

04 Jan 2021

Tips for keeping the kids entertained with Nintendo Switch Lite

11 Aug 2021