Young teen girl using a game controller.

PS4 Parental Controls: What Are Your Options?

by Screen Time Team on 25/03/2020

Game consoles can be a source of entertainment and even education. But they can also be the wellspring of tears, tantrums, and arguments. While there are currently no third-party parental control apps for the console, here’s how to manage the PlayStation 4 (PS4)’s parental controls to keep the rules in place.

What Can PS4 Parental Controls Do?

Sony has incorporated several types of parental controls into the PS4. They include:

Web filters
Spending limits
Age ratings for games and Blu-Rays
Access to network features and PlayStation VR

The first step to take is to make sure only you can change these settings.

Father and son sitting on a couch having a discussion.

How To Take Control Of The PS4

First, you’ll need to set yourself up as the Family Manager. You’ll find this under Settings, and then Parental Controls. The system will walk you through the configuration of the account.

Once this is done, you’ll be able to access “PS4 System Restrictions” in the same menu. If you haven’t used this before, the passcode will be 0000, or press Square on the DualShock 4 controller four times. Disable guest accounts, and the ability for others to create new accounts. You’ll also be asked to create a family manager passcode, different from your login, and a system restriction passcode.

This will allow you to configure all of the above, for each user. If you and your adult family members have separate accounts, for example, you can give them free access to games and movies. However, this is just the technical side. The social side is equally important.

How To Keep Control Of The PS4

It’s relatively easy to put in hard limits that kids can’t get around on the PS4. What’s hard is making them understand why those limits are in place. Rules only work when everybody who has to follow them understands fully why those rules are in place.

Have a meeting for the entire family and discuss what’s being put in place, and why you’re making those decisions. Give them concrete examples that you’re concerned about, such as bullying, hate speech, and cruelty.

These rules should extend beyond the console itself. For example, if you don’t want kids to play video games or stare at screens all day, you should set standards such as “No screens until homework and chores are completed,” or a screen-time-to-work ratio where, for example, for every two hours of homework, chores, or for teens time spent at work, they get an hour of screen time.

Setting an example will also be an important strategy. Any rule you set should be one you’re willing to follow, especially if you’ll be monitoring usage and controlling how kids use the many screens in our lives.

Finally, leave a door open for changes to the rules as things change. Elementary school children probably shouldn’t be playing gory first-person shooters, but older teenagers probably understand the inherently campy nature of such games. If everyone knows that the rules are fair and can change with circumstances, they’re more likely to try and improve the circumstances, instead of get around the controls.

To learn more about how parental control apps can help parents and children manage their screens, contact us today!

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