Parental Controls on Nintendo Switch

In a presentation today, Nintendo just announced more details on the forthcoming Switch console to be released in March. With a focus on local multiplayer with split controllers, mixed with portability, it’s sure to be a hit with families.

The Switch website details their approach to parental controls, with some great ideas. I wanted to comment on these longer than a tweet would allow…

  1. Moving parental controls to an app and away from the console is great. Parental controls are often deep in system settings or account profiles. Plus a parent is more likely to have their smart phone to hand, they don’t have to interfere with the child playing if they want to change options.
  2. It is great playing games together with your children, but for times when they are playing on their own and you are busy around the house, the timer can limit their play time. I’ve seen parents giving 5 minute warnings to their child playing games, then coming back having to have the same discussion about finishing. You can now set the time limits in secret from your phone :)
  3. Instead of just turning off the console when the time limit is up, the player can keep going over this allotted time and you get a notification on your phone. You can then either remotely put the console to sleep, or go back and have that conversation. In the promo video they call it a last resort. From experience its always good to let the player finish the lap/level they are on, for less stress from both sides.
  4. See which games your children have played. The idea isn’t to spy and say they are playing too much, but to give you a discussion point around the games that your child is playing. Games are fun for everyone to play together, but this gives you an insight for when you aren’t in the room with them.

There are also the standard restrictions you expect from parental controls, such as online chat, posting to social media, restricting games based on age ratings etc.

I look forward to family gaming time later this year with my own kids, well done Nintendo.