How to Set Up Parental Controls on a Nintendo DS

Introduction

In This Guide
You'll Learn How To:
  • Understand the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and what their ratings mean.
  • Enable the various Parental Control options that are available on the Nintendo DS, including first time setup.
  • Unlock your console if you forget your parental control PIN.
Before We Begin:
    • Have your Nintendo DS handy.
Nintendo DS logo

1 ESRB Ratings

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings provide guidance about video games and apps so that you can make informed choices about the ones you deem suitable for your family.

The ESRB is a single group, and only provides opinions on content. They are there to help give you an overview of the themes present in a game, not make decisions what is best for your child.

Parts of ESRB Ratings

  • Rating Categories suggest age appropriateness.
  • Content Descriptors indicate content that may have triggered a particular rating and/or may be of interest or concern.
  • Interactive Elements highlight interactive or online features of a product, including users' ability to interact with each other, the sharing of users' location with other users, if purchases of digital goods or services are offered, and/or if unrestricted internet access is provided.

You can find the ESRB ratings on the front of physical games, with the content descriptor on the back.
Locations for the ESRB ratings

Box Front

A small logo will be printed on the front of the game box, or prominently in the online store for the game.

Rating Pending
ESRB Rating PendingGames, but usually just promotional material for games, that the ESRB hasn't rated yet.
Early Childhood
ESRB Early ChildhoodGames designed for a preschool audience. No content that parents would find objectionable.
Everyone
ESRB EveryoneGames that the ESRB believes to be "generally suitable for all ages". There may be infrequent mild or cartoon violence.
Everyone 10+
ESRB Everyone 10+Games that the ESRB believes is still acceptable to everyone, but may have more mild or cartoon violence, mild language, crude humor, or suggestive content.
Teen
ESRB TeenGames the ESRB finds suitable for teenagers. Things such as a moderate amount of violence, some language or adult themes, and crude humor.
Mature
ESRB MatureGames the ESRB believes is generally suitable for people 17 or over. Realistic violence, strong adult themes, language, and so forth.
Adults Only
ESRB Adults OnlyGames the ESRB believes are only suitable for adults 18 and over. Adult themes throughout, graphic depictions of adult themes, violence, and gambling with real-world money.

Content Descriptor

On the back of the box, a more expanded list of information about the rating, and a small list of why the rating was given is shown.
Example ESRB Content Descriptor

The primary information is repeated, here, just like the logo on the front. To the right, further information detailing what, exactly, gave it that rating. This is so you can make a more informed decision for your child.

ESRB
For further information, as well as to check the ratings before leaving home, you can always check the ESRB Website.

2 What Are Parental Controls

Parental Controls are a method you to customize or use preset options to control and restrict various settings on your DS.

You can choose to restrict the following DS features:

  • Access to Nintendo DSi Exclusive and Compatible Software (ESRB Ratings): This setting is based on the Entertainment Software Rating Board ("ESRB") game rating categories. Note that this setting controls Nintendo DSi exclusive and Nintendo DSi compatible software. It does NOT control access to Nintendo DS software or software downloaded via DS Download Play.
  • PictoChat: Restrict the use of PictoChat.
  • DS Download Play: Restrict the use of this application. With DS Download Play, you can download and play certain multiplayer games with other Nintendo DS system users even if you have only one copy of a game. You can also send and receive demos of certain software titles.
  • Nintendo DSi Browser: Restrict the use of the Nintendo DSi Browser to browse the Internet.
  • Nintendo DSi Shop: Restrict the use of Nintendo Points. Please note: this does not block the ability to add Nintendo DSi Points with a credit card or with a Nintendo Points Card. There is no Parental Control setting for restricting the purchase of Nintendo DSi Points.
  • Photo Exchange: Restrict the exchange of photos over local wireless communications using the Nintendo DSi Camera.
  • User-Generated Content: Restrict access to certain user-generated content.

3 First Time Setup of Parental Controls

  1. Open the System Settings software from the HOME Menu.
    home screen, highlighting the System Settings app.
  2. Select Parental Controls.
    Nintendo 3DS parental control settings
  3. Select Set to set up Parental Controls for the first time.
    Setting parental controls
  4. Select Next.
    Nintendo 3ds, next button
  5. Select OK.
    Confirmation for PIN information
  6. Select OK to begin choosing your PIN.
    Starting to choose a pin
  7. Choose a PIN code to ensure that your child cannot change your chosen settings.
    Inputting a pin
  8. You will be asked to enter the PIN twice to confirm.
    Confirming PIN
  9. Select OK.
    Starting the secret question
  10. Select a secret question and answer in case you forget your PIN. This can used to retrieve access to Parental Controls if you forget your PIN.
    Select a secret question
  11. Select OK to confirm your secret question.
    Secret question confirmation
  12. Select OK.
    Confirmation of pin and question
  13. By default, all Parental Control options are enabled. You can individually configure the settings to your needs by selecting the separate topics. Please note that you will need the PIN code to access certain important functions, including Internet Settings and Format System Memory.
    Parental control categories
  14. Once you are satisfied with your settings, tap the Done button to confirm.
    Parental control done button
  15. You will be taken back to the Parental Controls front screen.

? What would you like to do now?

  1. Change a setting
  2. Delete parental controls
  3. I need help because I forgot my PIN

We're here to help!

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In This Guide
You'll Learn How To:
  • Understand the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and what their ratings mean.
  • Enable the various Parental Control options that are available on the Nintendo DS, including first time setup.
  • Unlock your console if you forget your parental control PIN.
Before We Begin:
    • Have your Nintendo DS handy.
Nintendo DS logo

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings provide guidance about video games and apps so that you can make informed choices about the ones you deem suitable for your family.

The ESRB is a single group, and only provides opinions on content. They are there to help give you an overview of the themes present in a game, not make decisions what is best for your child.

Parts of ESRB Ratings

  • Rating Categories suggest age appropriateness.
  • Content Descriptors indicate content that may have triggered a particular rating and/or may be of interest or concern.
  • Interactive Elements highlight interactive or online features of a product, including users' ability to interact with each other, the sharing of users' location with other users, if purchases of digital goods or services are offered, and/or if unrestricted internet access is provided.

You can find the ESRB ratings on the front of physical games, with the content descriptor on the back.
Locations for the ESRB ratings

Box Front

A small logo will be printed on the front of the game box, or prominently in the online store for the game.

Rating Pending
ESRB Rating PendingGames, but usually just promotional material for games, that the ESRB hasn't rated yet.
Early Childhood
ESRB Early ChildhoodGames designed for a preschool audience. No content that parents would find objectionable.
Everyone
ESRB EveryoneGames that the ESRB believes to be "generally suitable for all ages". There may be infrequent mild or cartoon violence.
Everyone 10+
ESRB Everyone 10+Games that the ESRB believes is still acceptable to everyone, but may have more mild or cartoon violence, mild language, crude humor, or suggestive content.
Teen
ESRB TeenGames the ESRB finds suitable for teenagers. Things such as a moderate amount of violence, some language or adult themes, and crude humor.
Mature
ESRB MatureGames the ESRB believes is generally suitable for people 17 or over. Realistic violence, strong adult themes, language, and so forth.
Adults Only
ESRB Adults OnlyGames the ESRB believes are only suitable for adults 18 and over. Adult themes throughout, graphic depictions of adult themes, violence, and gambling with real-world money.

Content Descriptor

On the back of the box, a more expanded list of information about the rating, and a small list of why the rating was given is shown.
Example ESRB Content Descriptor

The primary information is repeated, here, just like the logo on the front. To the right, further information detailing what, exactly, gave it that rating. This is so you can make a more informed decision for your child.

ESRB
For further information, as well as to check the ratings before leaving home, you can always check the ESRB Website.

Parental Controls are a method you to customize or use preset options to control and restrict various settings on your DS.

You can choose to restrict the following DS features:

  • Access to Nintendo DSi Exclusive and Compatible Software (ESRB Ratings): This setting is based on the Entertainment Software Rating Board ("ESRB") game rating categories. Note that this setting controls Nintendo DSi exclusive and Nintendo DSi compatible software. It does NOT control access to Nintendo DS software or software downloaded via DS Download Play.
  • PictoChat: Restrict the use of PictoChat.
  • DS Download Play: Restrict the use of this application. With DS Download Play, you can download and play certain multiplayer games with other Nintendo DS system users even if you have only one copy of a game. You can also send and receive demos of certain software titles.
  • Nintendo DSi Browser: Restrict the use of the Nintendo DSi Browser to browse the Internet.
  • Nintendo DSi Shop: Restrict the use of Nintendo Points. Please note: this does not block the ability to add Nintendo DSi Points with a credit card or with a Nintendo Points Card. There is no Parental Control setting for restricting the purchase of Nintendo DSi Points.
  • Photo Exchange: Restrict the exchange of photos over local wireless communications using the Nintendo DSi Camera.
  • User-Generated Content: Restrict access to certain user-generated content.
  1. Open the System Settings software from the HOME Menu.
    home screen, highlighting the System Settings app.
  2. Select Parental Controls.
    Nintendo 3DS parental control settings
  3. Select Set to set up Parental Controls for the first time.
    Setting parental controls
  4. Select Next.
    Nintendo 3ds, next button
  5. Select OK.
    Confirmation for PIN information
  6. Select OK to begin choosing your PIN.
    Starting to choose a pin
  7. Choose a PIN code to ensure that your child cannot change your chosen settings.
    Inputting a pin
  8. You will be asked to enter the PIN twice to confirm.
    Confirming PIN
  9. Select OK.
    Starting the secret question
  10. Select a secret question and answer in case you forget your PIN. This can used to retrieve access to Parental Controls if you forget your PIN.
    Select a secret question
  11. Select OK to confirm your secret question.
    Secret question confirmation
  12. Select OK.
    Confirmation of pin and question
  13. By default, all Parental Control options are enabled. You can individually configure the settings to your needs by selecting the separate topics. Please note that you will need the PIN code to access certain important functions, including Internet Settings and Format System Memory.
    Parental control categories
  14. Once you are satisfied with your settings, tap the Done button to confirm.
    Parental control done button
  15. You will be taken back to the Parental Controls front screen.
  1. Open the System Settings software from the HOME Menu.
    home screen, highlighting the System Settings app.
  2. Select Parental Controls.
    Nintendo 3DS parental control settings
  3. Select Change.
    Change button
  4. Input your PIN.
    Confirming PIN
  5. Select Set Restrictions.
    Selecting restrictions
  6. Select your category and adjust your restrictions.
    Parental control categories
  7. Select Done when finished.
    Parental control done button
  1. Open the System Settings software from the HOME Menu.
    home screen, highlighting the System Settings app.
  2. Select Parental Controls.
    Nintendo 3DS parental control settings
  3. Select Clear Settings.
    Clear settings
  4. Select Delete.
    Deleting parental settings

Unfortunately if you have forgotten both your PIN and your secret question for Parental Controls, you'll need to prove your identity and the fact you're an adult to Nintendo.

This requires a credit card and a trip to https://parentalcontrols.nintendo.com/

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