Nintendo has consistently been one of the best family- friendly video game console makers. Additionally, their video game lineup is much more family-friendly than Microsoft’s or Sony’s, they offer some of the most comprehensive parental controls available and their handheld game devices have limited Internet access, which means your children can play online with their friends but can’t access inappropriate content like they could on a smartphone or tablet.
With their new Wii U game console, Nintendo still offers their robust suite of parental controls, allowing you to disable features like in-game chat, the Online Store, and online interaction in games. (Both in-game chat and online interaction means your child can connect with adults and other strangers online.) You can also set restrictions on which games can be played based on their ESRB rating and what sort of video content can be streamed from providers such as Hulu and Netflix.
To begin, you’ll want to select Parental Controls from the Wii U Menu. Then read the text that shows up on screen and tap Next or press the A button to continue.
You will then be prompted to create a four-digit PIN. Enter the PIN you want and tap OK. You will be asked to confirm the PIN by reentering it and clicking OK.
You will then be asked to select a secret question from a predetermined list. If you ever forget your PIN, you can answer the question to regain access to your Parental Settings.
Next, you’ll be prompted to register an email address which can also be used to reset your PIN should you ever forget it. If you choose to register an email address, follow the onscreen prompts. If not, press the X button on the controller and continue onto the Parental Controls Menu. From here you can change your Parental Controls Settings, PIN and registered email address (If you set one up earlier).
Parental Control Functions
- Restricting purchases from the Nintendo Online Store, disabling online interaction with other Wii U users, restricting allowed games based on ESRB ratings, and implementing restrictions on streamed video content can be done by clicking on the Parental Control icon on the Wii U Menu and following the login prompts.
- Restricting the Chat function is a little more complicated.
- First you must have activated Parental Controls by following the steps and screenshots above.
- From the Wii U Menu, select the Wii U Chat icon. From there tap the Settings icon that can be found in the bottom-right corner.
- Then tap the Parental Control icon.
- Tap Activate to enter the four-digit PIN that you created earlier. Tap OK to confirm.
- You’re done – the Chat function is now restricted.
As a side note, the restrictions you set apply to all users on the console. Unfortunately, you cannot set individual restrictions for separate users at this time. Nintendo’s reasoning behind this may be due to the fact that user-specific restrictions would allow your children to circumvent all parental controls by creating another account or logging into someone else’s.
That being said, if you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly gaming console that provides a unique experience with innovative technology, the Wii U is a great option for your family this holiday season. And if you’re looking to introduce responsible gaming to your child, and you want to feel confident in your decision to do so, Nintendo’s products are a great place to start.
If you’re looking to set up Parental Controls on the original Wii, you can find a step-by-step video guide right here.