Do video games have parental controls?
Yes, almost all games have parental controls. Gaming consoles may have more controls and safeguards than online gaming, but nearly all games include some types of parental control options.
A few important things to keep in mind about parental controls:
- Make sure you are around when the gaming console is set up for the first time. This is often when the system will prompt you for parental control settings, passwords, and pin numbers. You definitely don’t want your kids to set their own controls and passwords!
- You can restrict games in several ways:
- By the ESRB rating (kind of like movie ratings, these indicate which games are appropriate for which ages).
- Who they can play with (this is especially important for online gaming, where your child could be connected to people of all ages from all over the world).
- When and for how long they play. Some systems allow you to call a “time’s up” by freezing the game if your child has exceeded their playing time.
- Take advantage of these features:
- Block – Oftentimes you can specify who your child may and/or may not play with while gaming.
- Mute – If you are concerned about the chat options that often come with online multiplayer games, you can always mute the volume.
- Monitor – Some games allow you to monitor your child’s account to check on their gaming activities and interactions.
- Speak Up – If someone is talking or acting in a way that makes you or your child uncomfortable during gaming, you can usually contact a game administrator and report that person.
For more information and a step by step guide to setting up most parental controls, please visit these sites: http://www.esrb.org; http://www.esrb.org/about/news/downloads/ESRB_PTA_Brochure-web_version.pdf