Nintendo Switch Parental Controls™ is a free app for smart devices to keep you
engaged with your family's gaming activities on Nintendo Switch. ◆ A Nintendo
Switch console with the latest available system version is required to use this
app. This is recommended for people worried about...
Great idea, horribly implemented
I was super excited to learn that the Switch had parental controls. Unfortunately the options are severely lacking, rendering useless the parental control feature. As others have mentioned, the inability to set parental controls (time limits, content ratings) for individual users is a complete non-starter. My next thought was to set a combined time limit for the whole family, and then use the app to monitor whether family members were self-managing and splitting the time equitably. This too is not possible, as the app’s accounting of time per user is wildly inaccurate. Lastly, it would be nice if two instances of the app could be linked to the same Switch console (e.g. both mine and my wife’s iPhones) for co-parent monitoring. Assuming Nintendo fixes all of the above, this app could actually fulfill its assumed promise. From there it would be amazing to also be able to set parental controls for my kids’ Nintendo 3DS consoles using this same app. Even cooler would be if screen time limits per kid were enforced cross-device, which would allow parents to mange total daily screen time regardless of which Nintendo device their kids are using. After all, what’s the purpose of making parents establish Nintendo accounts and IDs for each kid if not to ultimately provide features like this? Or is it just so Nintendo can track, profile, and sell stuff to my kids? Disappointing.
One thing missing
This is a great app that helps me control when my kids can play on their Switches. For the most part it works pretty well as expected. The one major feature that I see missing is the ability to set a "start time." For example, you can set a time which is considered "bedtime" and the Switch will suspend itself and the child will not be able to play anymore past that time. Which is great for preventing them from sneaking out of bed and grabbing their Switch and playing it. BUT, for some strange reason you can’t set up a start time, so if the kid wakes up at 6 AM and you don't want them to play until 8 AM too bad. They can wake up at 6 AM and play on their switch for two hours before you even wake up and there's no way to stop it. Please Nintendo add this feature and I will rate it five stars.
EDIT: after reading other reviews I’m changing my rating to one star. The issues are obvious, there is no excuse for Nintendo to have not addressed these issues. The lack of password protected accounts with individual time settings renders this app completely useless, and my other complaint (the timer still counting while game is paused on the home screen) is a distant, yet valid, concern. I was super excited for the features of this app but the actual user experience is a little lackluster. I wish there were a way to add a time limit per user, since I have more than one child using the device, and their timer still counts down while a game is paused or even on the home menu. If I need them to do a quick task I’m either making them lose some screen time or waiting for a chore to get done before they can conveniently close their game. I do love the intention and it does work well otherwise, just a few minor tweaks would make this a 5 Star app.
Almost useless without more robust feature set
Problem #1: No user level customizations : everything is global. Time controls, content allowed, everything is set across all users on the system indiscriminately. I want to set passwords for each user account, and set up each user to be able to access ONLY the games I want them to access. They should not even see game icons of games they are not allowed to access Problem #2: Play time is global across all users. In a house with 3 players of different ages and only one console there MUST be ways to set time limits on an individual player level. I know I can just enter my password to keep playing once time runs out BUT I shouldn’t have to do this if I’m playing under my account (the parent’s account) Problem #3 game visibility on home screen. Maybe there are games that I want to play that I don’t want my 5 year old to see even the icon of. Why can’t I hide my game activity from my kids? NINTENDO PLEASE FIX THIS! I’m not the only one asking for these features! This system you have set up only works if EACH player in a household has their own switch console! That is unrealistic for many families! Having one device to share is the reality in my house and many many other homes. QUIT being greedy Nintendo and give us the level of control we need to make our ONE console work for us as a family.
Good But Lacking One Major Ability
Nintendo, this app is a great idea, but why can the settings not be set individually for each specific user? I can't give one child more playtime than another, restrict content more for younger children than for older children, etc. Your parental controls are great, but they need to have the option of being applied per user instead of being applied globally to everyone who plays on the same console. It is unreasonable to buy an individual switch console for each child and monitor them that way. Until this ability is added I strongly contend that this app is severely lacking. No business from our family will come until we can insure that this ability exists. We would like to purchase a switch when this issue has been addressed, but not until then. Nintendo, can we expect this ability to come in a future update?
Great tool that needs some obvious improvements
This is a pretty awesome way to track usage of your Switch remotely to make sure the kids are being honest about how much playtime they are getting in. It allows you to set either a subtle reminder that time is up (good luck with that) or have a hard stop that suspends the software. It even breaks the total playtime down by each user who was on for how long. Considering it already shows how much time each user plays, it is beyond me why you can’t set individual timers, and instead are only able to set one aggregate time for everyone. This would easily be a 5 star app if such an ability was patched in, but until then I can’t say is useful for much more than seeing how one kid played the whole time while another barely played at all, after the fact.
Kill switch please
I was pleased to hear Nintendo had an app that would help me monitor and restrict my kids playtime. However it doesn’t really work. Half the time it doesn’t log time they are using. Today for example, my son was playing for over an hour when I had it set to shut off after 15 minutes. When I checked the app it said “no time logged” but I was watching him play. It logged 5 minutes of the day before and 50 minutes of the day before that so it does work....sometimes. If kids are disabling the WiFi connection to get around parental limits (not sure if that is their game but it seems a good explanation) I would like a parental control option to tell the switch to stop working till WiFi is reconnected. Related to that request, why isn’t there a parental control setting to disable the Switch unless the parent/guardian allows it through the app? I can only restrict time (down to 15 minutes) but I don’t want them to play at all till they’ve been useful (clean rooms etc.) As Nintendo aims for a younger group of players, be aware that those of us who buy these consoles want them to be rewards but when kids play despite restrictions, it defeats the purpose and annoys your real customers, the parents who hold the purses.
User profiles, Nintendo!
Restrictions are applied to the console instead of the user profiles. What does this mean? You can't vary restrictions based on the ages of more than one child. Once you give the child access to the console, there's nothing keeping them from playing as a different user profile. I don't want my kids to be able to access my game saves or play mature content, but this just makes parental controls painful to use. What I want is basically what Xbox does. You sign in at the start of a gaming session, and content is restricted to that specific user profile. For my kids to access my profile, they need a password. For their own profile, they only have access to appropriate content and they can request my permission for things they can't access. The Wii U even had separate profile access. I don't understand how Nintendo could hose this up so badly.
Good start but easy to get around controls
Was great until my 9 year old son figured out how to disable it pretty easy thanks to his friends. He just deleted the app and reinstalled it to kill the password/face access. Another way is that he went into my settings and just turned off the login via face feature... then bam, no password or face needed to access the controls. Then I wonder why he’s on the thing beyond the limits that were setup. Then he grabbed the pin for the switch itself via the app since you can see it without a password and he changed the pin and at some other point he then deactivated parental controls. No controls is a non-starter. Well, now he doesn’t have a switch to play with for the time being....
Not what it should be
The purpose of setting parental controls is so that you can tailor them to the individual person. This app only allows for the control of the device. This is our family device and I won’t be buying multiple so I can control my kids’ access individually. I don’t want to put controls on four people when I just want to restrict the usage individually for each family member dependent on earning time to play on it (school grades, helping out at home, general free playtime). This app is pointless when it comes to that and so pretty much not worth using the space on my phone. Nintendo, it seems like you could come up with something far better. Everyone complains that kids are addicted to video games and don’t do anything else, just like the cigarette manufacturers you should have some kind of obligation to lessen and assist regulate this addiction.
Needs separate account controls desperately!
Nintendo, this app is practically worthless since it only allows time controls for the entire system itself, rather than individual child accounts. This MUST be fixed! How am I supposed to allow one child a certain amount of time and another child, whom is much older, separate time limits?!? Also a password protected account on the console (for myself, being the parent) should be an option, 100%! This is all kind of a no-brainer, and I would’ve expected more out of a company that is well known for being “family friendly”!! Anyway, it seems you guys are just getting into the whole app thing & have some major updates to roll out... so with that being said, we will have to continue using other gaming devices until there is an appropriate update! Highly disappointed!
C for effort, expulsion for execution.
I don’t see why Nintendo even wasted their time with this app. It is essentially useless. Parental controls need to be able to be assigned to individual profiles instead of just the console as a whole. Also, the ability to put passwords on profiles and prevent the creation of new profiles is a must. If you have an older kid you have to allow your younger kids to play higher rated games or tell your older kid they can’t play the games they’re mature enough to play. What’s up with that? Parental controls as they are at this time are laughable and useless. It would be nice to see a resolution, but I don’t expect one as people have been saying the same thing since release and gotten no response. Crap like this is why Nintendo is dying to bigger better consoles. Just sell your titles already so real consoles can do them justice.
It is quite annoying that you can’t assign time limits to individual profiles. We (the parents) have to deal with the time limits we set for our two children just as they would, it’s quite annoying to have to turn it off then remember to turn it on when we are done using it. They should have designed this app where time limits can be set individually. I feel bad for parents who have kids with a large age gap where you may want to allow an older child 3hrs while a younger child only 1hr. Good luck! We have ours set 1hr during the school week (Mon-Thurs) and 2hrs Friday-Sunday. Other than that obviously ball drop by the developers this is a great idea. The 2 ⭐️ rating is solely on the time limit but it’s such a massive miss it deserves to drop the average stars for this app. I’m curious to know what others think about this design? 🤔
Everything’s great, except...
I absolutely love this app. It lets you see what games were played, on which profiles, and set limits on both age restrictions for the rating of games you’ll allow your family to play, AND it lets you set the amount of time you’ll allow them to play in a day. You can set bedtimes each day so no games can be played after the set bedtime as well. The only thing I don’t like is that you can’t control which profiles the limitations are applied to. It’s applied to every single profile on the console or none at all. What if I want to play after my kids go to bed? What if my kids sucked up all the play time for the day and now I want a turn? Technically, I could just enter my pin and temporarily give myself access, but I don’t want to have that barrier for my own profile. I understand why they did it that way, but I’d rather have the option of choosing who the limits apply to rather than it forcing me to apply it to everyone. Minus one star for that, but everything else is amazing.
I am not a parent- but I am a 24 year old graphic designer who works from home and has a bad habit of staying up until 3 am playing splatoon. I was happy to see the switch had a bed time feature that would warn you of the bed time and then shut off the switch when that time comes. That would be really useful for me. Can’t do that tho :/ since for some reason you can only set alarms between 4 pm (who would do that??) and 11:45???? Why is there no midnight option??? Or 1 am? (which is my usual bed time) Again, I’m not a parent so I’m aware this app isn’t made for me, but do people really not let their teenagers play past 11:45?? Idk this just sort of upset me. Guess I’ll just have to get some self control. (Like that will ever happen aha)
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