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Nintendo 3DS Parental Controls

Intro: With gaming systems, when considering the balance between filtering, monitoring, and conversation, the emphasis is on constant conversation. Here are four things that should be controlled in gaming systems:

  1. Wireless signal: filter the wireless signal in your home if you want control over browsing through the game console. According to recent research, the Play Station is the preferred gaming system for accessing pornographic content for teen boys.
  2. Game rating: set expectations with what game rating is acceptable in your home and when your son/daughter might be playing at a friend’s house;
  3. Playing time: this is going to vary by family. The American Academy of Pediatrics has offered its thoughts on managing screen time with kids in this publication: AAP Screen Time Guidance; and
  4. In-game Networking: many games allow kids to play with or against other players through the web, pairing them up with strangers. This is extremely fun as a gamer, but terrifying as a parent, because kids are going to be connected to other, sometimes random people through headsets, where they might hear all kinds of language. Talk to them about it. Ask them, “did you hear anything while playing that game that you have questions about?” Help them to self-regulate and remove themselves from the game if in-game conversations head in a bad direction, and applaud them for doing so! Specific to XBOX and the Kinect motion sensor, players have the ability to video chat with other gamers. This capability can be turned off through the parental control features explained in the links below. In July 2015, a 44-year old Grand Rapids woman was found to have had a 2-year relationship with a 13-year old boy from New Jersey, after having connected through XBOX.

Step 1: Set up OpenDNS on your home’s router (critical).

Step 2: There are parental controls that you can use to do 3 things:

  • Restrict game rating
  • Disable internet access
  • Restrict Nintendo 3DS Store Purchases

To do any of these, first go to the “System Settings” icon on the home menu (the wrench) and then select “Parental Controls”:

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If you haven’t already set a pin, then the DS will prompt you to create a 4-digit pin (don’t forget this) and then select “Set Restrictions.”

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From there, you will see the three options already mentioned. If this is a young internet user, then consider turning off web browsing by clicking “Internet Browser,” and then “Restrict.” If you want to set a maximum software rating or control Nintendo 3DS Shopping Services (might be smart!), then just click through each of those selections.

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