Games Consoles and Handhelds
Products like Sony Playstation3, Nintendo Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 are games consoles which connect to your TV. PSVita and Nintendo DSi / 3DS are handheld devices with an integrated screen. Both consoles and handheld devices have wireless capabilities so gamers can download games or play with others online. They also have browsers which can be used to access websites. All devices feature parental controls that are linked to an age rating system (see PEGI below.) These controls will also allow you able to limit the amount of time your child spends on the console.
PEGI (Pan-European Game Information) is an age rating system established to help parents make informed decisions on buying computer games. All Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony consoles are PEGI rated as well as every game from the main European and American publishers.
The PS3, PS4 console and the PSVita handheld can connect to the internet via the PlayStation Network. This allows gamers to play with others online plus access music, films and TV. You will need to register to join the PlayStation Network. Once you have done this you can set up accounts for your children which will have automatic age-related controls in place. Parental controls are also available via the device which allows you to set age restrictions for games and DVDs (using the BBFC’s film classification system http://www.bbfc.co.uk/what-classification.) You can restrict internet usage with a password or turn the browser off altogether. PlayStation offer content filtering software but this is a pay service.
To set up parental controls on PS3 , PS4 and PSVita
Nintendo’s devices include the Wii, Wii U, DSi and 3DS
all of which can connect to the internet to allow online gaming.
Nintendo parental controls are automatically set to off so you will need
to turn these on before you give the device to your child. You will need to
set up a 4-digit PIN to do this. The parental controls allow you to set age
restrictions for games, restrict purchases from the Nintendo eShop plus block
access to the internet or filter inappropriate content. To protect against
unrestricted internet access at home, take a look at the options suggested in
sections. Don’t forget, the restrictions
set up via your ISP are null and void once your child is using their Wi-Fi
enabled device outside the home in which case you may wish to consider
turning the Wi-Fi function off altogether.
To set up parental controls on Wii , Wii U , DSi , DSi XL and 3DS
The Xbox 360 is a game console. Xbox LIVE is a subscription-based internet service allowing gamers to play online with one or more players and communicate via text, chat and video. You will need to register for Xbox LIVE. Once you have created a Master Account you will be able to create individual accounts for each of your children with automatic age-related parental controls in place. Video chat and profile sharing is blocked for all child accounts. If you prefer, you can block Xbox LIVE altogether using the parental controls on the device. You can also restrict age-inappropriate games and movies and set the Family Timer to limit time that your console can be used on a daily or weekly basis.
The Xbox One works on the same principles as the Xbox 360 but is a 'next generation' gaming console. Web filtering can similarly be enabled to restrict internet access.