Do you want to monitor or restrict the use of a Switch by your children? Read our guide to setting up Nintendo Switch parental controls.
The Nintendo Switch has a useful suite of parental controls that can be used to monitor and restrict the video games played by your family. They are easy to set up and change, but you’ll need a few things in place before you begin.
First of all, you’ll need to set up a Nintendo account. You can do that on a Nintendo Switch, via the Nintendo website, or through the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls smartphone app. The app is not necessary, but it does provide extra features and monthly usage reports. You can download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
You’ll also need a Nintendo Switch console, and at least one child.
Here’s our simple guide to what you can control and how to set things up.
Things you can do with Nintendo Switch parental controls
- Set play time limits and alarms
- Monitor time played
- Monitor games played
- Restrict games based on age rating
- Restrict online communications and social media access
- Suspend software
- Receive monthly reports
Setting up Nintendo Switch Parental Controls on a console
- Navigate to System Settings on the Nintendo Switch home screen and select Parental Controls.
- A message will recommend downloading the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls smartphone app. If you can do this, skip ahead to the next section of this guide. If you can’t, press [x] and click Next.
- You can choose from a range of Age Restriction Levels: Teen, Child, Young Child, and Custom. Each one has its own set of pre-configured restrictions based on global software ratings, social media access, and online communication. Choose the pre-configured setting that suits your needs or choose Custom to adjust each restriction individually.
- If you select custom, you can tailor each restriction. Press Next when you’re finished.
- Choose a PIN between 4-8 digits. This can be used to change parental control settings. Don’t forget it, and don’t share it with your kids.
- Hit Save and return to the home screen. If your settings are applied correctly, you will see an orange indicator at the top of the screen. You can select this to temporarily disable Parental Controls.
Setting up the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app
- Launch the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app on your iOS or Android device and tap Next.
- Select Sign in or Create a new account.
- Make sure you have your Nintendo Switch console powered up and nearby. Tap Next.
- A unique code will be displayed on-screen.
- On the Nintendo Switch, go to System Settings.
- Select Parental Controls, then Parental Controls Settings, and then the option that says “If you’ve already downloaded the app.”
- Enter the unique code.
- You’ll be asked if you want to link the app to your Nintendo Account on the Switch. Select Link.
- Select “Continue Set up on the app” and put the Nintendo Switch aside.
- On the Parental Controls app, you immediately have the option to “Set Play Time”. You can do this straight away or configure it later.
- Go to the Settings section to change the following options:
- Play Time: Configure the amount of time the Switch can be played each day from 15 minutes up to a maximum of six hours. You can also set an alarm or suspend software when the limit is reached.
- Age Restriction Level: Teen, Child, Young Child, and Custom. Each one has its own set of pre-configured restrictions based on global software ratings, social media access, and online communication. You can also whitelist specific games to exclude them from the age restrictions.
- Restrict Nintendo eShop purchases: Prevent errant kids from purchasing games online.
- Change PIN: use the default PIN generated by the app or change it to your own 4-8 digit number.
- To connect additional Nintendo Switch consoles to the app, tap the [+] icon on the top left of the screen and repeat the process.
- When you make changes to the settings on the app, go to the Parental Controls menu on the Nintendo Switch and select Acquire Latest Settings. You can also unlink the app if necessary.
The Time Played and Monthly Summary sections of the Parental Controls app includes a wealth of information. You can view daily play time for each user, see which games are the most played, and how long they are being played for. You will also see monthly reports on all activity.