As video game consoles become more advanced, there’s an increased risk that your children could access unsuitable content. Nintendo Switch consoles can access the internet through a full web browser, and there is also the Nintendo eShop that allows users to buy games and apps.
If you're worried about your children's online safety while playing on Nintendo Switch, you might want to use the parental controls to limit what they can access.
How to make my child safer while playing on Nintendo Switch
Nintendo has different parental controls you can take advantage of to ensure your child is within safe boundaries while enjoying the Nintendo Switch. However, you can also teach your child about online safety if they will be using the web browser that's part of the console. You can also explain to your children what the game age ratings mean in order to help them pick appropriate games to play.
How to access parental controls on Nintendo Switch
To access parental controls on the Nintendo Switch, you need to load up the Switch and navigate to the home screen. From there, follow these instructions:
- Launch the System Settings
- Scroll down and press Parental Controls
- Select Parental Control Settings.
You can then either download the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app on a smartphone or tablet, or you can continue with the parental controls built into the Switch console.
How to set up parental controls on Nintendo Switch
If you are using the inbuilt parental controls for the Nintendo Switch, you will have several options for how to set limits on what your child can do. The switch has several pre-made options for you to easily select an access level that suits your child. The pre-made options include Child, Pre-Teen, or Teen. This should automatically limit the age rating of content that your child can play with using Switch.
If you want to change what your child is allowed to access, you can also create a custom restriction category. This lets you manually select and limit several features of the Nintendo Switch, such as age rating on games, and whether or not your child can directly communicate with other gamers across the world.
If you're unfamiliar with age ratings on games, there are several different rating systems used globally, but they tend to be quite similar. For example, in the UK, the PEGI system is used. This is based on six age categories and eight content descriptors. The age categories are 3, 7, 12, 16, 18 and ‘Parental Guidance Recommended’ (which is used for certain apps).
How to use the parental control app on Nintendo Switch
Once you have linked the parental control app to your Nintendo Switch by following on-screen prompts, you can access additional features that you can use to create a safe environment for your child while using the Switch.
There are also features that allow you to limit the amount of time your child spends playing on the Nintendo Switch. For example, you can use the app to set a time limit for play, as well as a bedtime alarm to make sure that your child is not playing when they should be resting. You can also see a report of what games your child has been playing, to make sure they're not engaging with any content that might be inappropriate. However, the app only works with a smart device such as a smartphone or tablet, and you can't access these additional features on the Nintendo Switch console.
Can my child buy games on Nintendo Switch?
Yes, the Nintendo Switch eShop allows users to buy games and download them immediately. If you have set up parental controls that limit the age rating of games that your child can play, they shouldn't be able to buy and play games that are unsuitable.
How can I manage my child’s spending on Nintendo Switch?
If you want to make sure that your child does not buy too many games on Nintendo Switch, you can help to manage their spending by teaching them about budgeting and finance. With GoHenry’s in-app Money Missions, your child can watch videos and take quizzes to help them learn the basics of how money works, such as saving and investing.
If you're still concerned that your child might spend too much, you can use the GoHenry app to check your child’s spending, set flexible boundaries, and encourage them to save money.
How to turn on Nintendo Switch eShop password restrictions
You can also set a Nintendo eShop password restriction if you need to limit purchases. This means that your child will not be able to buy games without using your password. This can be helpful if you want to check any purchases or ongoing subscriptions before they are approved.
How to set the parental controls PIN on Nintendo Switch
You can set your parental control PIN in the Parental Controls Settings menu. This will allow you to set a 4 to 8-digit PIN code. This PIN code will be required whenever you want to change settings or make new unrestricted accounts.
This is important as children can learn how technology works very quickly, and they will often find ways around limitations such as account settings. When you need to enter your PIN, there will be prompts on the screen showing you how to use the analogue stick to enter the digits of your PIN. If you would prefer to enter your PIN using a keypad, simply press and hold the Plus (+) Button on the right Joy-Con controller.
How to delete parental controls on Nintendo Switch
If you feel you no longer need parental controls on the Nintendo Switch, you can easily delete your parental controls by navigating to the Parental Controls Settings menu in the System Settings menu. From there, find the Change Settings option. Accessing this will require you to enter your PIN code before you can select delete or reset.
Before you delete the parental controls, you should be sure that your child is ready to safely use an unrestricted account. This means teaching them about age ratings on games and general internet safety, along with helping them learn about money, and how to avoid overspending.