The Nintendo Switch is Gaining in Popularity
Since its release in March 2017, the Nintendo Switch has been a wonderful replacement for the movement-oriented Wii that has surprisingly lasted for over a decade. Quite predictably, Nintendo is now expanding the number of apps available for use on the gaming console through its eShop Store.
YouTube was added in November 2018, which has been widely reported. But few sites have shown parents exactly how to handle this addition. YouTube is both fabulous and frightful. It’s a swamp of inappropriate, violent trash surrounded by lush meadows of hilarious cat videos. This addition to the Switch is worthy of attention.
How do I Set up a Nintendo Switch Parental Controls?
We have identified 11 steps that will (1) set up the Switch (2) set parental controls, and (3) control Nintendo Switch apps like YouTube and Hulu. These steps are first summarized in the picture below and then in a list with helpful links:
Here are the steps in list format with helpful links (the numbers in the list correspond to the numbers in the image above for easy cross-referencing):
(1) Create user profiles on the Switch console (instructions).
(4) Restrict access to certain aspects of the Nintendo eShop Store (instructions). Both Hulu and YouTube are available for download in the eShop. Both the Hulu and YouTube apps are rated “Teen” in eShop, if that’s helpful information for what you do and don’t restrict.
(5) Link Nintendo accounts to the Switch user profiles (instructions).
(6) Set up parental controls for the Switch system (instructions).
Related link: How to reset you parental controls pin.
(8) Link the Smartphone App to the Nintendo Switch Console (instructions).
Use clean DNS to control YouTube on the Switch!
(9) Use a clean DNS on your router and also on the Switch itself!
Never forget: controlling the router is the key to controlling all internet-ready devices in your home.
This is a really important step! Even after you’ve done everything for the Nintendo Switch device in steps 1-8, it is still really easy for a child with an email account to add a new user profile to the Switch (step 1 above), and then create and confirm a new Nintendo Account (step 2 above) through his/her email account. Therefore, if he/she adds an account and circumvents eShop Store controls by downloading YouTube onto the Switch, at least you can ensure YouTube Restricted Mode is being used by
**Using CleanBrowsing’s FREE clean DNS on the router and on the Switch itself!** We explain all you need to know about Clean DNS for the router and the Switch in our popular post:
Or, for even stricter controls (**don’t miss this**), you can use CleanBrowsing’s paid service, which for just $2.99/month (PYE discount), gives you a parent dashboard, a listing of every sites visited through the router (or through any device that you’ve set up with CleanBrowsing’s clean DNS), and a white/black list, where you could put YouTube.com and/or Hulu.com on a black list preventing either app from being used at all on the Switch, even if your child circumvents the parental controls.
Meaning, if you blacklist YouTube and Hulu with CleanBrowsing, and you’ve set the DNS of the router (for when it’s at your home) and the Nintendo Switch itself (for when it’s not at home), then they won’t be able to access either site.
Related link: Clean Browsing monthly logging service
Your Final Steps
(10) Look your kids in the eyes and tell them exactly what your expectations are for how the Switch is used!
(11) Check out the Nintendo Switch parental control app on your phone from time to time, to see how your child is doing with usage time.
February 9, 2019 Update! Vivox has announced a software kit that will allow gaming companies to create voice and text chat in Nintendo Switch games. This is a really big deal for gamers, but also opens up the Switch to increased predatory activity. Once Switch games start adding voice and text chat capability, parents will want to make sure to enable any parental controls that exist to LIMIT this feature, especially for young gamers (who often love using the Switch).
And, that’s it! The set-up is so important. And, we’ve done the research for you! Why? Because we love helping families. If this post is helpful, please share it with a friend!
Here’s a Nintendo Switch walk-through video:
I love life. Seriously! Each. Day. A. Gift. Former CPA, business advisor, youth pastor, development director. Manage marketing efforts for Covenant Eyes and CEO of PYE. God shares wild ideas with me about life while I run. I have a relentless drive to help families use technology well.