Child Safety OnlineFeb 25, 2021

Nintendo Switch Parental Controls: Everything You Need to Know

Nintendo Switch Parental Controls: Everything You Need to Know

At a time when many families can’t gather in person to enjoy their favorite activities, meeting your loved ones online to play video games can be a fun way to pass the time. The Nintendo Switch is an easy-to-operate video game console and it’s often considered one of the best for kids and families. Even though it’s fairly kid-friendly, you may discover the need to limit playing time and control privacy settings—and that’s where Parental Controls come in.

About Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch is a versatile console that can be played on the TV and on the go in handheld or tabletop mode. It’s user-friendly, easy to set up, and the controls are simple enough for kids age six (or even younger) to play. While the system is great for pure entertainment, video games can also help children develop problem-solving skills, learn spatial awareness and much more. That said, the effects of video games on children are still being studied. While the idea that video game violence increases aggression has largely been discounted, there is evidence that screen time can overstimulate the nervous system, and that video games can create reward-addiction pathways in kids’ brains. Setting clear boundaries for kids around what games they can play on the Nintendo Switch, and for how long, is a way to begin creating healthy video gaming habits.

What are the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls?

Nintendo Switch offers a Parental Controls App, which you can use on your mobile device to control your console. Using the app, you are able to set:

  • Time limits: Choose how many hours per day, or even which days of the week the Nintendo Switch can be played. The console reminds players when there are a few minutes left, and then suggests they stop at the set time. If you need to be even firmer, you can set the system to go to sleep when the time is up.
  • Age limits: Restrict which games are accessed from your Nintendo Switch, based on game age ratings.
  • Regulate communication with strangers: Prevent your child from sending or receiving messages outside their “Friends” list, disable voice chat and restrict posting to social media.
  • Restrict purchases: Disable credit card purchases on the Nintendo eShop and Nintendo website. You can also limit what your child can see on the eShop.

Parental controls are not the only answer

The Nintendo Parental Controls App is one tool in shaping how and when your child can use the Nintendo Switch, but it is far from foolproof, and kids can circumvent parental controls without parents even knowing. In addition to using parental controls, try connecting with your child around their relationship to video games. Communicating why you are asking your child to take breaks or limiting their time on the Nintendo Switch is an important step in helping them develop healthy habits with gaming.

Playing video games together is also a great way to gain a deeper understanding of your kid’s relationship to their favorite games. Centering family time on the Switch helps you to engage with your kid through their love of gaming, while at the same time connecting as a family. And, there are lots of fun multiplayer games available rated “E for Everyone” like Mario Kart 8 or Overcooked.

Nintendo Switch is a versatile video game console, which allows your family to access a variety of games for all ages. Setting clear boundaries around video games can help your family establish healthy routines while staying connected, being creative and having fun.

Editorial credit: Evgeniy pavlovski /


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