Parental controls on the Nintendo Switch

13 Apr 2017 Becca Cawthorne

Gaming consoles can be a great way for young people to creatively interact and engage with their friends and families. We look at the Nintendo Switch console to help parents ensure that their children are using the device safely and responsibly.

What is the Switch?

Nintendo’s new console, the Nintendo Switch, is a games console that can be used in three different ways. It can be connected to the TV, used as a handheld device and also as a tabletop device.

The device can be played in both single and multiplayer modes, and can be played online to allow users to interact with people around the world. Whilst games can be played online, the Nintendo Switch does not include a web browser.

Parental controls

There is a free app called Nintendo Switch Parental Controls which parents can download to help manage and engage with their family’s use of the Nintendo Switch.

What you can do with the parental control app:

  • Monitor what your child is playing: you can view a report of which games your child has been playing, and see how much time they have spent on each game. You can also receive a monthly play report of your child’s gameplay activity. This can allow you to start a conversation about the types of games your child likes to play.
  • Monitor the time your child spends on the Switch: you can set a time limit for how long your child is allowed to play, when this time is over an alarm will be triggered on the Nintendo Switch to let them know their play time is over.
  • Set the “Suspend Software” feature to automatically turn the game off when your child’s gameplay time is over.
  • Restrict games and certain online features according to your child’s age. You can stop your child from playing games which may be inappropriate for their age ranges.

Although the Nintendo Switch can be played online, through the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app you have the ability to restrict whether your child can send and receive messages from other users. This restriction can be changed for each individual game they play on the device.

How to block and report

On your Nintendo Switch, you can manage your friend settings and blocked-user list via your console’s HOME Menu. To do this you need to go to Profile > User Settings > Friend settings.

To register and manage friends, a Nintendo Account is required.

Our advice

  • Have an ongoing, open and honest conversation with your family about what they like to do on the console. Make it clear that your child can come to you if anything worries or upsets them within the game. If you need inspiration for ways to start this conversation then look at our conversation starters.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Nintendo Switch’s features, this allows you to easily report any behaviour you think is inappropriate and block the user.
  • Make a family agreement of reasonable time to spend on the device, you can then set up your device restrictions in the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app to reflect the agreements your family has made. Our family agreement advice can help you to have this discussion.
  • Have fun: remember to play the game together and have fun as a family to find out what you each like to play.

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