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Setting the Wii Parental Controls

| December 28, 2010 | Comments (6)
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To_grandmaothers_house_wii_go_pm-thumb-270x270 Post Christmas, the Wii maintains its status as the number one gaming console in U.S. households—that means parents should know how to set the parental controls.

The idea of turning on the Wii and setting the parental controls prior to handing it over to your children can be a bit daunting, so I put together this step-by-step guide showing you how quick and easy the process actually is.

However, just like with any digital device (especially one that’s capable of accessing the Internet wirelessly), parents should set everything up beforehand. This will prevent kids from being wary of there being any sort of parental controls on the device to begin with. I think most parents would agree with me when I say that kids tend to tamper with the settings if they know they’re there.

The first thing you want to do is power on the Wii console.

At the main home screen, choose the Wii Options button in the bottom left corner.

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On the next screen, choose the Wii Settings option.

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On the next page, you’ll want to click the arrow on the right so that you go to the second pane. There you’ll select the Parental Controls option. This will trigger a prompt asking you to set a pin and a secret question. Like any pin, make sure only you know it.

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Once you’ve done that, click on Game Settings and PIN. The next screen is where you’ll set the highest ESRB game rating that you want your kids to be able to play.

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Refer to this guide to help you understand the details of each rating.

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After selecting the rating you want and hitting Confirm, you’ll be brought back to the main Parental Controls screen. Here, you’ll want to choose Other Settings.

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From here, you can restrict or allow a handful of features: Internet access, spending Wii Points in the Wii Shop, user-to-user communication, and the Wii News Channel.

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Restricting the features:

  • The Internet Channel – This feature is driven by the Opera web browser that can be downloaded on the Wii and then used to browse the Internet. I recommend all parents restrict the use of this feature as it only makes the Wii a more vulnerable device in regards to safety and privacy.
  • The Wii Shop Channel– This is where Wii users can purchase Wii points with their credit card, and then use those points to buy downloadable games (old Nintendo games, Wii games, etc) or applications like Netflix <== I allowed Wii Shop Channel just for this purpose.
    • The Netflix app is not disabled or filtered by any of these Parental Controls.  More specifically, the restrictions you set on game ratings do not affect the content that can be streamed on Netflix—Netflix has separate parental controls for that, which you can access through your Netflix account.
      • Go to Netflix.com, log in, and then click on the link in the top right corner called “Your Account & Help“.
      • Scroll down to the Preferences box and click on the link called “Change Parental Control Setting”.  
      • From here you can select the restrictions that best suit your family.
  • User-to-user communication – Pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Restricting this is a good idea as the Wii is just as capable as the Xbox 360 when it comes to chatting with other Wii owners via text or voice. As most of us know, there’s not much good that can come out this for our children.
  • The News Channel – A news aggregator that stays up-to-date via the Wii Connect 24 feature (which is essentially a live update feature that is enabled when you have the Wii hooked up to an Internet connection).  I doubt your child will get any use out of this feature, so disabling it couldn’t hurt.

Once you’ve set everything how you want it, just hit the Settings Complete button. That’s it!

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Category: Safety, Tech Benefits, Tutorials

Comments (6)

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  1. Teresa says:

    I agree. The parental controls for internet viewing on the wii do in fact block Netflix from being used at all. I am having the same problem. I want to set parental controls for internet use (inappropriate visual content etc…) but when my kids want to use Netflix, we have to enter a pin number. This poses a problem if I am not at home and my kids want to watch a movie on Netflix. Sure wish Wii would change this.

  2. Mary Kay says:

    Not too sure about that one. There should be something in the Settings menu that either allows you to reset parental controls, or reset the Wii to factory settings. I’m think the latter might be the solution since tweaking the parental controls would require you to know the password. Sorry, wish I could be of more help with this issue. Good luck!

  3. texmom says:

    Is there a way to override the parental control setting if you have a used system?

  4. John says:

    I think the Internet controls do block Netflix…at least it appears to on mine. It would be great if you could block one and not the other.

  5. mary kay says:

    Thanks for commenting, Ronz. Glad you found the guide useful. Your question is actually directly addressed in the blog.
    Under the “Wii Shop Channel” section, I mention how the Netflix app is/is not affected by the parental controls. And then you’ll see how you can adjust your Netflix parental settings right there on Netflix.com.

  6. ronz28 says:

    Thanks for the guide. Is it possible to restrict internet but maintain Netflix?

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