Parental Controls for Video Game Consoles

Back when electronic gaming was still in its infancy consoles like the Atari 2600 and Sega Genesis propelled it to new heights and introduced the world to a whole new form of digital entertainment. In November of 2001, Microsoft entered the competition with their console titled Xbox to directly compete with Sony’s Playstation and Nintendo. The tech giant followed up the release with a plethora of Xbox games for teenagers like Halo, Gears of War and Forza Motorsport which brought new fame to the gaming industry and helped it rival Hollywood in terms of revenue and market share.

As digital entertainment continued to evolve consoles became more and more sophisticated. The state-of-the-art hardware became a central household entertainment unit of sorts capable of not only playing 3D video games grounded in realism but also high-definition movies. It could connect to the internet wirelessly at blazing fast speeds, and let you have video chat with your friend in Japan. A connection to the information superhighway meant that your console which is more likely to be used by your kids became their doorway to content available on the internet which is not appropriate for their age.

Realizing the need for countermeasures manufacturers decided to embed restrictions directly onto the consoles’ firmware. Parental controls for Xbox, Playstation 3 and Wii aim to block your kids access to not only adult websites on the internet but also prevent them from playing video games which are too violent for their sensitive minds.

If your kids love video games then chances are they own one of the three current generation consoles. Here’s how responsible parents can restrict their kids from accessing inappropriate content and video games while they are away:

Xbox 360

Turn on the console without a disc inserted. Go to System -> Family Settings -> Console Controls to access the parental control menu. Choose your preferred option from games, movies and Xbox Live. Once you have all the correct settings in place simply create a 4 digit passcode. The option to create one will be visible under Console Controls -> Set Pass Code.

Playstation 3

Sony’s Playstation consoles already have a four digit password set by default which is 0000. Go to Settings -> Security Settings -> Set Password to set passwords for DVD and Blu-Ray movies. To set restrictions for video games go to Parental Control. A number system will allow you to choose the level of strictness. Lower the number, tighter the restrictions.

Finding the right setting will need a little experiment. Start at 1 until you find the right settings for movies and games.

To set restrictions for the internet browser go to Internet Browser Start Control. Turning the setting On will completely restrict access to the internet.

Nintendo Wii

Restrict access to games and online features in Wii by pressing the Wii button at the bottom of the screen then selecting Setting -> Parental Controls. The console uses ESRB Ratings to determine if a game is appropriate to be played by kids.

Once you connect your Wii to the internet you can access additional options. The console comes with a built in Web browser and email service. Users are given the option to setup a PIN for online purchases from the Wii store as well.

Once you save your changes you will be prompted to create a password along with a password reminder question.

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