Xbox (owned by Microsoft) and PlayStation (owned by Sony) are the two of the most popular video game brands with their own home video game consoles and online services. Xbox Network (previously known as Xbox Live) and PlayStation Network allow their users to download and play games online with people around the world. Nowadays, these video game consoles are high-powered computers. The features these systems offer include messaging, voice chat, and sharing content like photos and videos.
Children can be exposed to predators, hate speech, and harassment.
- Chats are often toxic and filled with adult language by other players.
- If someone sees your username in an online multiplayer game, strangers can then send you a message without even being your “friend”.
- Parents may not be aware that these systems have built-in web browsers that enable children to search for and access inappropriate content.
Children can access games with mature or inappropriate content.
- If parental restrictions are not set up, children can purchase inappropriate games—for example, those with extremely graphic violence and language such as Call Of Duty and the Grand Theft Auto series.
- Both systems offer the ability to rent or purchase movies on the console.
Parents can visit the PlayStation support website or Xbox website for further assistance and step-by-step instructions to enable parental controls. It’s normal for children to want to communicate and connect with others—especially if their friends are allowed to play online. Parents and caregivers can create family accounts where they have a “master account” and children under 18 years old have a “sub account” with access to certain features. These sub accounts enable parents to more closely monitor and manage their children’s experience. Restricting communication and user-generated content allows parents to prevent children from communicating with other players via chat, messages, and game invitations. This also restricts viewing content created by other players, blocking videos, images, and text. There’s also the ability to control purchases or set spending limits. Setting playing time restrictions is another method parents can use to establish expectations and help avoid addiction. Putting the video game system in a common room at home can also encourage safe device use because riskier behaviors are more likely to happen behind closed doors.
Want To Learn More?
For information about monitoring their child’s Xbox One settings, check out Common Sense Media’s How To Set Parental Controls article. Bark’s How To Set Up PS4 Parental Controls article also provides more instructions on the PlayStation console. In addition to the sources listed below, parents can use this information to learn how to set time limits, control chat settings, and more safety settings.