After a recent Cyber Safety event, several of the participants asked me how to set parental controls on their game console. Since each one is different, I could not provide step-by-step instructions at the time, but I thought it would make a great blog post.
As you may know, most game consoles today allow Internet access, either to enable multi-player games over the Internet or to even to enable web browsing directly from the game console. These web browsers are not filtered by the content filter that you may have installed on the computers in your home, so you may want to make use of the parental controls to disable web browsing altogether.
Parental controls can also be used to set limits on the types of games that you allow in your home. Most games today have an ESRB rating, which is much like a moving rating - it informs parents of the target audience for the game, and helps communicate what type of activities are found in the playing of the game. For more information on ESRB ratings and how to interpret them, click here. You can use the parental controls to limit the games based on their ESRB rating.
Here are the step-by-step instructions for setting parental controls for the three most popular game consoles on the market today:
Remember that your game console is every bit as powerful of a computer as the desktop and laptop machines that you may have in your home, and require just as much parental oversight.