One of the key parts of the Nintendo 3DS is being able to manage what your kids can and can't do while they play it. For example, Nintendo is recommending that kids 6 and under don't use the 3D effect because it may damage their eyesight, so the 3DS parental controls provide a way for you to turn them off completely if that's what you'd like to do.
Here's a look at the different options for setting up parental controls on your 3DS.
The first step of setting up Parental Controls is choosing a 4-digit PIN, as well as a secret question and answer that can be used in case you forget your PIN. After that’s done, you can choose to modify the Parental Controls. Next, you'll be able to modify all the following categories:
- Software Rating – Select an ESRB rating that you would allow to be played, and the system will allow games rated that or below to be played. Rating options are M for Mature (17+), T for Teen (13+), E 10+ for Everyone 10+ (10+), E for Everyone (6+), EC for Early Childhood (3+). You also have the option to set no restriction on the software rating.
- Internet Browser – Parents have the option to restrict use of the Internet browser. Interestingly, as of the Nintendo 3DS launch, the system tells you that “This option can be used only after the Internet browser becomes available.” This is a reminder that the 3DS does not currently have an Internet browser.
- Nintendo 3DS Shopping Services – This option allows parents to restrict the use of credit cards, prepaid cards and online purchasing of content and services through the Nintendo 3DS shopping services.
- Display of 3D Images – This is a very interesting one, and one that parents of kids 6 and under will need to consider. Parents can choose to restrict the display of all games to “2D only” mode if they choose. Since Nintendo only recommends the use of 3D for kids 7 and older, this one might be a good idea to enable if you have a younger child using the 3DS.
- Sharing Images / Audio / Video – This option restricts the transfer and transmission of images, audio and video data. This is something that should be considered, especially as it may contain private information.
- Online Interaction – This restricts the exchange of data between users, as well as the ability to participate in software that can be played via the Internet (except for Nintendo DS software). Basically, disabling this option disables the options to play any games multiplayer.
- StreetPass – This is one of the new features of the 3DS, which allows the system to be carried around while in “Sleep Mode” (closed, but not turned off), and lets users automatically exchange information with others in close proximity. As far as we know, the primary information being exchanged currently is Miis, and there are other ways to make sure you’re not giving up any personal information when you create those. So we think it’s probably worth keeping this one on, unless you absolutely know you are never going to use it.
- Friend Registration – The Nintendo 3DS allows users to register friends by using a “friend code,” and then allowing each other to view one another’s Internet-connection status, see what they are playing and exchange messages. Restricting this option removes this feature.
- DS Download Play – This is the multiplayer system used by many DS games. Disabling this feature restricts the ability to host or participate in multiplayer modes of many DS games.