How to Use Parental Controls on Video Game Consoles

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Editor’s note: please welcome Mary Ward to Earnest Parenting! I was very pleased that she chose to share this topic with us; it’s very important information for any family that has gaming systems in the home.

Most of today’s parents are familiar with the video game rating system, which rates video games according to their appropriateness for children. But, what many parents may not know is that they can take controls one step further with newer game consoles by setting the parental controls on the console itself.

While using the game rating system is a great way to ensure that you only buy age appropriate games for your children, it does not protect your kids from games that their friends might loan them. By using the console parental controls you’ll be able to control what types of games are played on the console. In addition, if your console plays movies on DVD, you can control the movies watched on the console, too.

Parental controls are available on Nintendo’s Wii, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and Playstation’s PS3 and Portable.

Following are some basic instructions for setting the controls on these consoles:

Nintendo Wii
Turn on your Wii console and click the Wii button at the bottom of the screen. Then select Wii Settings and select Parental Controls. Game controls use the same ratings as the games themselves. Simply set the highest rating with which you’re comfortable. In addition to setting game restrictions, you can set restrictions on online features. Some parents may also elect to disable the web browser, put limits on emails and set a pin for purchases from the Wii shop. Before you exit, set a password for future use.

Sony PlayStation 3 and Playstation Portable
Your playstation will come with a password that you’ll need to use to change the controls. The default password is 0000. Nearly every child on the planet knows this, so be certain to change the password when you’re finished setting the controls. Select “settings”, then “security settings”. Within this, there will be settings for DVDs and Blue Ray Discs, as well as the spot for changing the password. You’ll find game controls under parental controls. The restrictions are set by number. The lower the number, the tighter the restriction. Many parents start at “1” and then loosen the restriction as permissible games and movies are denied.

If you’d also like to block access to the Web browser, select Internet Browser Start Control. Selecting “on” blocks the access to the web.

The Playstation Portable’s controls are set in much the same way. Follow the same instructions as above, but note that videos are referred to as UMD’s (Universal Media Discs). You’ll want to also remember to change the password on this console, too.

Microsoft Xbox 360
To set the controls on the Xbox 360, start the console without a disc. Then select System, Family Settings, Console Controls.

You’ll find options for games, movies and Xbox Live. Restrictions for movies are based on the traditional movie ratings system and restrictions for video games are based on the ESRB game ratings. This makes setting the controls pretty simple, as the ratings are those you’re already familiar with. After you’ve set the restrictions, be certain to create a pass code. Go to “Console Controls” and then “Set Pass Code”.

Mary Ward is a freelance writer and likes writing about healthcare career topics, such as how to obtain an online x-ray tech degree.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want their kids to be safe with video games.

Image courtesy of Hikaru Kazushime via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Brochures October 26, 2009, 11:29 pm

    Nice! It’s really great that there are parental controls nowadays. Some of the games really have content not appropriate for young children and these games can influence them unconcsiously. Good thing, there’ s something like this nowadays.
    .-= Brochures ´s last blog ..Win Ben Harper Halloweenabaloo Tickets =-.

    Reply
  • charlotte garage doors October 27, 2009, 8:00 am

    its good that you have a parental controls for young’s.
    its true that there are some that are not appropriate to children
    good to hear that you have like this

    Reply
  • hydro floss oral irrigation   October 27, 2009, 7:26 pm

    These days, video games are too harsh for the kids. I agree that we should exercise those restrictions of videos for a children. Sometimes, its hard to guess the harm those videos will influence to the mind of the children.

    Reply
  • Amy October 28, 2009, 12:41 am

    Brochures, agreed. My boys are constantly asking me for permission to play games meant for older kids. I’m happy to learn about additional ways to protect them.

    Charlotte, yes. I was surprised that you can set the limits at the hardware level. It’s very handy and I’m going to use that!

    Hydro floss, yes, they can be terribly harsh. And the boys can’t make that judgment for themselves without being exposed directly to the exact images that I want to keep out of their lives for now. I’m so glad Mary took the time to share the information!

    Reply
  • gaming consoles December 12, 2012, 9:21 am

    Gaming consoles is not a bad thing but the thing is important you don’t have habitual for games all the times. Its really the good way of time pass when you feel alone or bored.

    Reply