How to Set Parental Controls on the Nintendo Switch

Use these settings to help make gaming safer for kids. By Caroline Knorr
How to Set Parental Controls on the Nintendo Switch

In a field including the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, the Nintendo Switch comes out as the best game console for families with young kids. Its ultra-user-friendly design, wide selection of kid-appropriate games (including the cardboard-building and programming Labo kits), and ability to bring it along wherever you go make it a smart "starter" system the whole family can play together. Nintendo also pioneered the idea of parental controls for gaming (the Wii had them, and so does the 3DS).

Nintendo's latest innovation is to add a parental-control app that parents can download onto their phones to control kids' access to various features on the Switch. You can set parental controls on the console itself, but the app offers more settings. Learn more about using parental controlsTo use the app, download and launch the Switch app from the app store. Create a Nintendo account, if you haven't already, and link the app to your device

Here's a quick guide to key settings to enable parental controls on the Nintendo Switch:

Time Limits

How to set time limits on the Nintendo Switch
Time limits for the Switch can only be enabled on the app, which you can download from your app store.

  1. Open the app.
  2. Tap Console Settings in the upper-right corner. Create a PIN that only you know and your kids can't guess.
  3. In Console Settings, tap Play-Time Limit. Set a daily limit on the amount of time your kids can play.
  4. You have the option of shutting down the device when your kids reach their daily limit by enabling Suspend Software. Otherwise, kids just get a notification that they've reached the limit but can still play.
  5. Play-Time Limit also allows you to enable a Bedtime Alarm to shut down the device at a certain time each day.
  6. Confirm and save your settings.

Chat

How to turn off chat on the Nintendo Switch using the console
You can also turn off other social features.

  1. From the Home menu, select System Settings.
  2. Scroll down to Parental Controls, then select Parental Controls Settings. 
  3. If you've downloaded the app, the Switch will prompt you to sync the console with the app at this point.
  4. If you don't want to use the app, press the X button to choose to use the console to enable parental controls. (The first time you set up parental controls using the console, you’ll need to press the X button to choose to not use the mobile app and instead set up parental controls on the system. After initial setup, selecting Change Settings proceeds to the next step.) 
  5. Select Use this Console.
  6. Select Restriction Level.
  7. You can either use one of the age presets, which automatically disable social features for kids 12 and under, or select Custom Settings to manually adjust the settings.
  8. In Custom Settings, toggle off Posting Screenshots/Videos to Social Media.
  9. Next, highlight Communicating with Others. You can toggle between Restricted or Not Restricted for all software on the system or adjust the settings for specific software.
  10. If this is your first time setting this up, select Next and create a PIN if you haven't already.
  11. Then select Save and OK to confirm.

How to turn off chat on the Nintendo Switch using the app
You can also turn off other social features.

  1. Open the Switch Parental Controls app and tap Console Settings.
  2. Scroll to and tap on Restriction Level. You can either use one of the age presets, which automatically disables social features for kids 12 and under, or select Custom to manually adjust the settings.
  3. Under Restriction Level you can turn off Communicating with Others and Posting Screenshots on Social Networks.
  4. Confirm and save your settings.

Mature Content

How to limit mature content on the Nintendo Switch using the console
This will prevent kids from being able to play mature games.

  1. From the Home Menu, select System Settings.
  2. Scroll down to Parental Controls, then select Parental Controls Settings.
  3. If you've downloaded the app, the Switch will prompt you to sync the console with the app at this point.
  4. If you don't want to use the app, press the X button to choose to use the console to enable parental controls. (The first time you set up parental controls using the console, you’ll need to press the X button to choose to not use the mobile app and instead set up parental controls on the system. After initial setup, selecting Change Settings proceeds to the next step.) 
  5. Select Use this Console.
  6. Select Restriction Level.
  7. Choose one of the preset age restrictions, which automatically restrict content based on the ESRB rating.
  8. To customize the age, choose Custom Settings, then Restricted Software, and choose the age for which you want to restrict content.
  9. If this is your first time setting this up, select Next and create a PIN if you haven't already.
  10. Select Save, then OK to confirm.

How to limit mature content on the Nintendo Switch using the app
This will prevent kids from being able to play mature games.

  1. Open the Switch Parental Controls app and tap Console Settings.
  2. Scroll to and tap Restriction Level. You can either use one of the age presets, which automatically restrict games based on their ESRB ratings, or choose Custom.
  3. To customize the age, tap Restricted Software and choose the age for which you want to restrict content.
  4. Confirm and save your settings.

Purchasing

How to restrict purchases on the Nintendo Switch
You'll need to do this on a browser, not the console or app.

  1. Log into the Nintendo Account you have set as a parent/guardian.
  2. Select Family Group.
  3. Select your kid's Nintendo account.
  4. Select Spending/Purchases on Nintendo Switch eShop and Nintendo.com.
  5. Check the box to disable purchases. This will block spending and auto-renewals on both the Nintendo eShop and on Nintendo.com.
  6. Confirm and save your changes.

More Stuff You'll like Powered by PubExchange (i)

 

About Caroline Knorr

Image of blog author
As Common Sense Media's parenting editor, Caroline helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids' media lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you're wondering "what’s the right age for…?"... Read more

Add comment

Sign in or sign up to share your thoughts

Comments (1)

Parent of a 13 and 14 year old written by maddox121

I forgot that app even existed... ahh the good ol days of 2017... can't believe it's now 2 years since then... LazyTown, yeah.

PubExchange

Common Sense Media is working with PubExchange to share content from a select group of publishers. These are not ads. We receive no payment, and our editors have vetted each partner and hand-select articles we think you'll like. By clicking and leaving this site, you may view additional content that has not been approved by our editors.