Due to the continuous shift to digitalization, owning electronic devices with screens has become mandatory for everyone, even for children. Around 53% of children of age 11 have their own smartphones. Almost every child spends their time playing online games on their phones.
Undoubtedly, video games are one such technological advancement that has been accessible, popular, and appealing across all consumer segments, especially kids. Nearly 79% of children ages 8-11 play games for 9 hours and 30 minutes a week.
Thus, kids spending long hours playing video games was always a matter of concern. Then came the pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic when people were forced to social distance, the rate of video game addiction in teenagers has been rising steadily.
By 2020, the numbers have skyrocketed and several stats have concluded how social distancing in the face of a global pandemic has been a challenge, especially for parents. According to the 2020 statistics on video game addiction,
- 70 percent of kids below 18 years of age are on video game consoles.
- In the second quarter of 2020, spending on video games reached a record $11.6 billion in the United States alone.
If the reports are to be believed, gaming engagement has notably increased among kids aged 5 to 17.
If you are also a parent of a child who is game addicted and have no clue how you can control their addiction by simply enabling parental controls, then keep reading this article.
Why are children most likely to have a video game addiction?
There’s no denying that children are more susceptible to video games addiction. Of course, naïve minds are easily attracted by the scenes, sounds, interactions, and fun within it. Above all, it’s the perfect way to get themselves out of boredom and distract themselves to combat loneliness and isolation.
However, one shouldn’t ignore the risks of online gaming that come with its price. Once the children get hooked on video games, it requires a monumental effort from parents to pull them away. The best parents can do here is try to stop this from happening, and that’s where parental control can come into play.
How do parental controls help?
In simple terms, parental controls are features that allow parents to set up appropriate controls on their children’s internet use. They are an excellent way for parents to monitor and restrict what their kids do online. In general, it helps parents to:
- Filter and block the inappropriate content that pertains to their child’s age
- Limit screen time for children and their online time as well
- Establish a time of day when the children can access the internet
- Set individual profiles so that each family member has the appropriate level of access
Parental controls, nowadays, are part of the system and available for most smartphones, laptops, and game consoles. Parents can also download additional parental control apps to supplement these controls.
Parental control has been a necessity for every gaming platform. Take the Nintendo Switch, for instance. In addition to being a console, Nintendo Switch is portable, too, which a child can take to their bedroom and close the door. Imagine how convenient it can be, particularly for mom and dad who can’t always be around. Parental control helps parents take control of their kid’s consoles, and on top of that, they don’t need to be super tech-savvy to know how to do it.
The majority of gaming consoles and services now come with parental controls, and they are easy to set up. Besides Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox all have some kind of parental controls that will limit how long a child can spend playing.
Also, you can also determine the level of interaction they can have with their online peers. It would just take you a few minutes to enable those features, and you would have a great system in place.
Here’s how to easily enable parental controls, whether you’ve got a PlayStation 5, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch.
Guide to enabling parental control on PlayStation
PlayStation is undoubtedly the supreme and most popular console on the market. Like its predecessors, the recently launched PlayStation 5 has everything to continue the legacy.
It is undoubtedly true that PlayStation, like other gaming consoles, is capable of connecting to the internet in some way, and the addictive nature of the games is something parents are always concerned about.
That is why offering parental control is the responsible thing to do, and PlayStation did not disappoint in that area. The PlayStation Network offers parents a variety of parental controls, such as
- playtime controls,
- age restrictions on specific contents,
- restriction on online communications, and spending limits that help them monitor their child’s PS5 console activity.
Here’s everything included in PlayStation parental control options;
- Restricting online communications
- Restricting playtime.
- Setting spending limits.
- Restricting game content based on age rating
- Blocking internet browsing and VR
The first and foremost thing you need to set up parental control is
- your account for the PS network and an account for your child.
- Once you set up the child account, go back to your account and access the Settings (the menu is usually found in the upper right corner of your Home screen).
- Now, go to Parental Controls>Family Management and customize the security features.
You can also protect your PlayStation settings by adding an extra layer of protection, i.e., a passcode. To do this,
- Go to the console Settings>Family>Parental controls>PS5 Content Restrictions.
Note: You can also block the creation of a new account through User Creation>Guest Login>Not allowed.
Guide to enable parental control on Nintendo switch
Nintendo Switch is designed to go wherever you go, transforming from a home console to a portable system in a snap. On top of that, it has a big list of the best games, from fighting games to competitive racers or local cooperative games that can be shared with friends. Basically, it has everything to keep your kids hooked up in the virtual world.
Though the Nintendo Switch games are more family-friendly as compared to other consoles, it is not free of offensive references. Along with the nature of the game, the fact that Nintendo Switch is portable and can be taken by kids into their room has made parents concerned regarding the excessive screen time, and unauthorized buying an unsuitable game playing.
Fortunately, the Nintendo switch’s parental control offers convenient features making it immensely easy to limit playtime and put restrictions on inappropriate content. All these can be easily handled with the help of the Nintendo app available on both Android and iOS.
Besides the app, the settings can be configured directly through the switch though some features will be limited. Here’s the list of what parents can do with the help of parental controls;
- Restriction by age according to the ESRB rating of each game
- Block communications
- Block posting to social media
- Restrict VR mode (3D visuals)
- Limit playtime
- View play activity
While all of these are available on the switch parental control app, the last two features won’t be available if you choose to configure the setting directly through the switch.
Here, we’re sharing a useful guide on Nintendo switch parental controls, so you can have an overview and put required restrictions in play for kids’ safety.
Directly from the console
- Go to System Settings on the console and select Parental Controls appearing on the right side of the screen. Now, you’ll be encouraged to download the parental control app.
- If you don’t want to download the app, press X on your controller. The next step gives you the option to block games as per age rating, disable VR, and block communications.
- After you save your settings as per your preference, you will be prompted to enter a 4 to 8 digit PIN. Remember the PIN as you will require it every time you want to access the parental controls.
Though Android or iOS app
If you choose to download the app, you need to initially register your console to the parental controls app.
- Create a new Nintendo account or sign in if you already have one and follow the on-screen instructions under parental controls to establish synchronization between your switch and the app.
- You may need to enter the six-digit code provided by the app into the switch for that. Now using the mobile app, you can configure controls as you deem appropriate for your kids.
Guide to enabling parental control on Xbox
Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox series S/X are all about games. The console allows kids to play games, stream content, interact with other players via Xbox Live, and surf the web. With a vast and engaging library of games, Xbox has managed to keep gamers in the loop.
However, there is no age rating to play the Xbox, and the maturity level of many Xbox games is what makes its built-in parental controls a welcoming feature.
With Xbox parental control, you can manage what your kids can play on the console or PC, as well as set up some strict rules to protect them from possible threats. Xbox parental control allows parents to;
- Restrict video and games content based on the content rating.
- Limit the time on a daily or weekly basis.
- Allow or block creating new memberships.
- Allow or block access to Xbox Live.
- Monitor the user data.
- Ban exploitative loot boxes
- Block the ability to chat or interact with strangers.
Xbox allows you to link all the Microsoft accounts in your household and customize the settings as per your need. This can be done either through the console itself or through an app. Here, we’ll be exploring both of these options;
Directly from the console
To set up parental controls on the console itself,
- You need to log into your Microsoft account or create an account if you don’t have one already.
- After that, go to Settings>Account>Family Settings.
- Now head to “Manage Family Members,” which will allow you to add your child’s account.
- Once your child’s account is added, you can explore all Xbox parental control features, which you can customize according to your preferences.
Through the app
The Xbox family app is free and available on both Android and iOS. All you need is to link the app to your Microsoft account and then Add Family Member. Similar to the settings on the console,
- Create a new one or add your child’s account to your Xbox family.
- After that, tap on their profile name and add preferred restrictions.
Note: You can also allow Xbox to automatically suggest age-based content restrictions by entering the age of your child.
It seems obvious to limit gaming time as a way to prevent kids from the negative influences. The problem arises when the rules for gaming are too restrictive or don’t give children autonomy in their decision-making.
On the other hand, the built-in parental controls may not always keep kids within the applied restrictions considering there are ways around this. Kids can bypass the imposed controls by setting up a new account and reverting the changes.
As a parent, you should be proactive and take an active role in your child’s activities. Get involved in the gaming world and explore it together. Make a point of showing your kids how to manage their time between the real and the virtual worlds.