Setting up parental controls on a PS4

Making sure your kids are safe while using their PlayStation 4 is key. Here’s a rundown of what tools Sony’s console includes to do just that.

Keeping a check on your children’s PS4 habits

As the second highest selling games console of all time, Sony’s PlayStation 4 has captivated millions of gamers, from the young to the not-so-young. The games are slick, often with Hollywood-level budgets, and the range of content is large and especially exciting for kids old enough to use one.

Sony’s console series enjoys a long-running rivalry with Microsoft’s Xbox range; often with similarly powered machines and types of games in their catalogues. With all this pixel-perfect excitement comes worries for parents, about the maturity level of games and how they will use online titles on the PlayStation Network.

A PS4 also serves as a media hub online, so you may want to police your child’s access to the PlayStation Store and use of the internet browser; both available on Sony’s digital platform. We’ll show you how to change parental controls on a PS4 and how to deal with some of the key questions.

Using the PlayStation Network for PS4 parental controls

The good news if you want to set parental control restrictions on your child’s PS4 play is that the sign-in process on the PlayStation Network (PSN) helps you do it. You will be able to, among other controls, set age restrictions on the PS4 and configure how your child uses network features – enabled if and when they are allowed to play multi-player games online. Let’s walk you through them.

There are a few steps but they are easy to do on screen once you have logged into the PlayStation Network (PSN). It helps to have your own account on the PSN, to then start managing access for family members. To get started on parental control settings:

  • From the Main Menu press up on the d-pad and then right until you have highlighted Settings. Press the X button to open Settings.
  • Within the Settings menu, scroll down and select Parental Controls/Family Management.
  • Select PS4 System Restrictions. If asked for a PIN, the system default is “0000”.
  • Within PS4 System Restrictions change the System Restriction Passcode and block New User Creation. This will stop anyone from creating new users that don’t have parental restrictions on them!

Assigning PS4 parental controls to your children, by profile

So from here we will be creating Users for the console, which will be your children, with certain parental restrictions applied.

  • Just beneath PS4 System Restrictions, highlight Family Management and press the X button.
  • Then sign in using your PSN network account. This is your parent account from which you will create a sub-account associated to your child.
  • Select Set Up Now. Verify your email address with your account if you have not done so. Select Already Verified and then Continue.
  • Select Create User. Now put in the details of the child and hit Next. Then select Accept.
  • You will now be in the PS4 Parental Controls screen where you can choose the maximum age rating of games/DVDs/Blu-Rays that your child can use, and well as restrictions on the PlayStation VR virtual reality headset. You can also block your child’s use of the internet browser built into ps4. Once you decide what to block, simply make your choice and then hit Confirm.

How to use parental controls on a PS4 to create a time limit

After you’ve followed the steps above, you will be a family manager of your child’s account. When you are signed in, you can go to system restrictions and family management to access Play Time. In this area, you will be able to put certain limits to the amount of shooting, running or mining your child can do in one sitting. There are three settings of parental time limits you can use:

  1. Restrict Play Time – select Restrict or Do Not Restrict.
  2. When Play Time Ends – Notify Only or Log Out.
  3. Duration and Playable Hours – you can set Play Time Duration and Playable Hours for every day or specific days of the week.

Considering how you want to apply these settings is your prerogative as a parent. There are other considerations to all of this, for example if you allowed your kids a PSN account with a payment card attached to it. If you were brave and that way inclined, you can add a monthly spending limit, to remove some of the worry.

Amount of time playing PS4 games

Research has recommended not more than 2 hours of play time on a PS4, PS5 or similar consoles per day. That challenge rests in your power to police as a parent. Negotiations can be tough!. Sometimes you may even have to hide their game controllers, or change the WiFi code (the ultimate sanction). Good luck with all of this.

For more information on setting controls across a range of devices, apps and platforms visit Internet Matters

Boy playing a Playstation 4 at a desk

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