Nintendo parental controls

A Guide to Nintendo parental controls

Various features of Nintendo Parental Controls can be configured:

  • On Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS consoles.
  • From other devices via Nintendo Switch Parental Controls mobile app.
  • Online from Nintendo account


  • Different set up across various Nintendo devices and services
  • Parental controls are set for the whole console – not for each individual player
  • Some content restrictions do not apply to older software
  • Parental supervision only legally lasts till child turns 13

Nintendo Parental Controls overview: what they restrict

Nintendo Switch Console

  • Software ratings by age
  • Posting to social media
  • Communication with others
  • VR mode

Nintendo 3DS Console

  • Software rating by age
  • Use of Internet browser
  • Shopping services
  • Use of 3D images
  • Sharing and online interaction
  • Video content by age
  • Privacy settings

Parental Controls App

  • Software ratings by age
  • Posting to social media
  • Communication with others
  • Set play-time limits
  • View play activity
  • Control multiple Switch devices

Online Nintendo account

  • Restrict eShop
  • Enable or disable the Friend suggestions feature
  • Delete the child’s Nintendo Account
  • Email to acquire a device PIN-resetting master key 

Nintendo Switch Parental Controls

To set up Parental Controls on the device

  1. Select System Settings on the HOME Menu.
  2. Parental Controls > Parental Controls Settings.
  3. Select Use this Console.
  4. Select Restriction Level (None, Child, Pre-Teen, Teen, or Custom)
  5. Custom Settings (does not include Nintendo eShop restrictions, which must be set in the Nintendo Account settings):
    • Restricted Software

      Restrict software by age based on each game’s ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board) rating category. Videos captured using restricted software will not be viewable either.

    • Software Rating Organization

      Change the software rating organization that software restrictions are based on. The default is the organization for your region.

    • Posting Screenshots/Videos to Social Media

      Disable the ability to share images and videos on social media: toggle between Restricted or Not Restricted.

    • Communicating with Others

      Restrict open communication between users: toggle between Restricted or Not Restricted for all software on the system, or adjust the settings for specific software.

    • VR Mode (3D Visuals)

      Restrict gameplay in VR mode. This option should be set to restricted if a child of 6 years or younger uses the console. Toggle between Restricted or Not Restricted.

  6.  Save > OK to confirm.
  7. Choose a PIN number (between 4 and 8 digits long) > OK. Make sure kids cannot see it. 
  8. Re-enter the PIN to confirm > OK.

Nintendo 3DS Parental Controls

To set up Parental Controls on the device

  1. Ensure your system has the latest system update.
  2. System Settings on the HOME Menu > Open
  3. Parental Controls > Yes > Next > Read the information on the screen > tap OK twice.
  4. Create a four-digit PIN > OK.
  5. Re-enter the PIN to confirm > OK.
  6. Select a secret question > OK.
  7. Enter the answer > OK.
  8. Follow the on-screen prompts > enter an e-mail address > re-enter to confirm
  9. A confirmation email will be sent to the e-mail you registered.
  10. Select restriction settings:  
  • Software Rating: Restrict the use of Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DSi software based on ESRB ratings. These restrictions do not apply to Nintendo DS Games.
  • Internet Browser: Restrict the use of the Internet browser.
  • Nintendo 3DS Shopping Services: Restrict the use of credit cards, Nintendo Prepaid Cards, and online content purchasing in the Nintendo eShop.
  • Display of 3D Images: Make all images display in 2D only. The restriction of the display of 3D images is recommended for users 6 years or younger.
  • Miiverse: Restrict the viewing and posting of content on Miiverse (network service for players to share gaming experiences).
  • Sharing Images/Audio/Video/Long Text Data
  • Online Interaction: Restrict the exchange of data between users who are not friends and the ability to participate in online play via the Internet. This restriction does not work with Nintendo DS software
  • StreetPass: Restrict communication with other users of StreetPass (social gaming and data sharing service). This restriction does not work with Nintendo DS or Nintendo DSi software.
  • Friend Registration: Restrict the registration of friends.
  • DS Download Play: Restrict the use of DS Download Play (when units  share one Game Card for multiplayer gameplay).
  • Viewing Videos: Restrict Nintendo Video application content with an age rating of 13 and over. This also restricts YouTube content.
  • Child Online Privacy Protection: Obtains parental consent for the online collection, use, or disclosure of personal data from children under the age of 13.

11. Done to save the settings. Parental controls are now in place.

Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app

  • Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app is available for free on iOS and Android devices.
  • Multiple Nintendo Switch devices can be linked to the app.
  • Does not control Nintendo DS consoles or online Nintendo gaming on other smart devices
  • Parental controls apply to the system, not individual players

To set up Parental Controls on Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app

  1. Download the Nintendo Switch Parental Control app
  2. Create accounts (instructions) for admin (parent) and children (supervised). Assign family roles (instructions). 
  3. Set up Nintendo Account Family Group (instructions)
  4. Link the Smartphone App to the Nintendo Switch Console (instructions). Repeat the process to add another console.
  5. Set restrictions from the app:
  • Manage time limits for each type of content and each day of the week
  • Content restrictions based on the age level (None, Child, Pre-Teen, Teen, or Custom)
  • Restrict software based on the rating
  • Restrict communication with others
  • Posting screenshots on social networks
  • Receive activity summaries
Setting a parental controls PIN for the Switch console from the app:
  1. Access the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls application on your smart device.
  2. Select Console Settings in the upper-right corner.
    • If you have more than one Nintendo Switch console linked to the app, tap the (+) icon in the upper-right corner to choose the correct system.
  3. Select PIN.
  4. The Parental Controls PIN for your system will appear under Current PIN.

Nintendo Online gaming

Nintendo offers a paid membership to its Switch Online gaming platform. If you put parental controls on Nintendo account level from the Nintendo app, you should expect them to apply to online gaming, but there is a disclosure on Nintendo website that they have limited control over services running on platforms other than Nintendo. Since online gaming can happen anywhere: iOS, Android, PC, we would suggest layering parental controls on all the devices kids use: both built-in and third-party. What Nintendo does not catch, other screen time solutions and content filters will.

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