The lights are on
The other day I asked my wife to imagine that our house had fallen into a time tunnel and we were suddenly the parents of two young teen boys. She didn’t run screaming out of the house, which was my initial fear. I then told her that we were concerned about our hypothetically aged kids being exposed to those darn M-rated games, and it was up to her to access and adjust the parental controls on our PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360 so that such content would be blocked. Fortunately, she’s nothing if not patient. Sometimes.She’d heard a few vague things about family settings on the consoles, but there hadn’t been any real reason for her to mess around with them. The last time she’d even spent time with a game was with Alias on the Xbox, so it’d been a while. I figured she was as good a test subject as any for my little plan. Could someone with the interest, but not necessarily the know-how, easily figure out how to access and set appropriate content limits for their children? The answer, as I’d find out, was a resounding “Kind of!”PlayStation 3The
PlayStation 3’s controls were probably the trickiest for my wife to
handle. They weren’t easy for her to find, and Sony’s way of handling
restrictions is a little strange. Rather than have parents choose
appropriate ratings for their kids, Sony has parents select from a
sliding scale of 1-11, with one having the tightest controls. There’s
no easy way to understand what these numbers correlate to, and even
Sony’s Web site isn’t that helpful (we cheated afterward). Expect a
little trial and error. The PlayStation 3’s online access can be
finessed a bit with third-party filtering software (available for less
than $25), which gives more flexibility than the Wii’s simple on/off
solution. The PS3 also lets parents set spending limits for kids on the
PlayStation Network.Overall grade – C
Nintendo WiiShe started out with the Wii, since she thought it would be the easiest nut to crack. I didn’t let her look anything up online, because that would have been too easy. The trickiest part for her was finding where the settings were grouped. From there, it was a pretty simple ride (as it turns out, this was a pretty common theme. See the sidebar for the locations of each console’s family settings). All three consoles allow parents to restrict games by content. If a user tries to access such restricted content, they’ll have to enter a passcode (set up by the parent) to proceed. The Wii has a Web browser, and parents can also choose to limit access to the Internet as well as the console’s news channel. Parents can also choose to limit the use of Wii points, to prevent kids (or spouses) from downloading content and spending money in the process. Overall grade – BXbox 360Microsoft’s Xbox 360 interface was redesigned to make the system more accessible to non-gamers. Judging from how quickly my wife found the family settings, I’d say they succeeded. In addition to game content, parents can adjust the settings for TV shows, videos, and movies. Parents can also block Xbox Live or some of the system’s communications functionality. Perhaps the slickest feature is its family timer, which lets parents dole out minutes of playtime for each account holder. Once the timer is out, no more games. It’s a simple and effective way of limiting gaming time that still gives kids some measure of control. Overall grade – B+Ultimately, my wife did a great job. She was able to tweak three consoles in less than an hour, and our make-believe teen sons are the better for her having done so. Sony’s sliding scale was a source of frustration, but she powered through it. After spending time with the parental controls, I’d like to see more flexibility overall. Having restrictions based on ratings is a good start, but parents should be able to make exceptions on a game-by-game basis. Halo 3 might be perfectly acceptable for a kid who’s not quite ready for a Grand Theft Auto. As gamers grow up and have families of their own, I expect more parents will take advantage of these kinds of built-in settings. They’re easy to access, even for parents who don’t play games, and they’re a good safeguard for when kids are playing unsupervised.
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FIRST and read this awhile ago in the magizine as a kid Im happy parents dont know the controls exist but the simplest is montering what games kids buy
also parents your preteens/teens have already seen more than is in most games
As more and more Kid gamers are becoming parents this does'nt look like an issue in the next 5 to 10 years.
Wtf.. why even use parental control? I mean, I was playing Duke Nukem 3D, and other games like that, when I was 6 or 7! And all the GTA games..
Poor kids these days :(
Great article to read again, yeah the parental controls for consoles are not that hard or complicated, people need to learn to use them if they want to limit their kids access onto some content.
It's funny because I'm doing a paper on violent games and if they cause children to become violent. And what I keep noting is the fact that they don't as long as if the parents let them know the difference between right and wrong.
Also, some parents really need to learn about these parental settings. Actually, a lot of parents need to learn about the ESRB rating. Great feature.
I read this already. I spread the word (about the bird jk)about the ESRB
im sure parents who dont pay enuff attention to what their kids have their hands on dont pay any attention to finding the tools to hide sensetive materials
I am officialy a fan of killermunkey!
As a gamer that hopes to have children soon, its nice to know that these options are there in case parents want to use them. though hopefully in the future these options can become deeper to give the limiting a little more lean-way in case of some games
Much appreciation mochrieb, glad someone out there likes my work.
I feel like I have read this before... hmmmmmm
I am glad that these companies have woken up and realized the danger of disgusting games. But I agree that parents should know what their kids are playing. Games like the God of War series and the Grand Theft Auto series need to be addressed. These games and a lot others shouldn't either be acceptable in this day and age. Total depravity.
This is really old, why is this getting posted now?
What I'd like to see is software that can blank out the cuss words for my kids as they get old enough to game.
this was on the magazine so okay