How to Set Up Parental Controls on a Nintendo Wii U

Introduction

In This Guide
You'll Learn How To:
  • Understand what Parental Controls are.
  • Change what kind of content a restricted Wii U can access.
  • Understand the ESRB rating system.
  • Delete your settings.
  • Restore your Wii U if you forget your PIN.
Before We Begin:
  • Have access to your Wii U.
Wii U brand name

1 What Are Parental Controls

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

You can choose to restrict the following Wii U features:

  • Game Rating: Restrict all usage (as well as purchase through the Nintendo eShop) of software exceeding the rating level of your choice.
  • Online Interaction in Games: Restrict the use of online features of software such as online play, conversation among users, and Miiverse posts.
  • Internet Browser: Prevent use of the Internet browser.
  • Wii U Shopping Services: Restrict the use of credit cards or the purchase of software through services such as the Nintendo eShop.
  • Miiverse: Restrict users from viewing or posting content.
    • As of Nov. 7th, 2017, the Miiverse service is no longer available.
  • Friend Registration: Prevent the registrations of friends.
  • Entertainment Excluding Games: Restrict the viewing of video content, both streaming and stored on physical media such as discs, and software with video playback functions.
  • Data Management: Restrict the deletion or moving of software or save data using Data Management.
  • Internet Settings: Restrict the addition, modification, or deletion of Internet settings.

2 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.

3 First Time Setup of Parental Controls

  1. From the Wii U main menu, select Parental Controls.
    Wii u parental controls icon
  2. Tap Next.
    Parental controls starting up
  3. Tap Next.
    Make sure there are no kids around when you configure your controls
  4. Create the 4-digit PIN.
    Creating the 4 digit pin
  5. Enter the PIN again.
    Entering the PIN a second time for confirmation
  6. Select OK.
    OK button
  7. You'll need to select a secret question. This is in case you forget the PIN.
    Selecting a question
  8. Type in your answer.
    Nintendo Wii U secret answer
  9. Tap OK to confirm your answer.
    Confirming your answer
  10. Select OK.
    Confirmation of set PIN and question
  11. Another fail safe if you forget your PIN, is signing up an email address. You can select Next to type in your email address or select X No E-mail Address.
    Deciding whether to sign up an email
  12. You're now ready to set your Parental Control Restrictions.
    Parental control main page
  13. Using the Gamepad, select the Mii of the user you want to adjust the Parental Controls of.
    Mii user selection
  14. You can adjust game ratings, online interactions, apps, and shopping. If a restricted user tries to access the item, they will need to input the saved PIN.
  15. You can adjust these settings at any time using the PIN. You can also delete or reset all the settings at once by using the Delete All Settings button.
    Wii u parental controls delete all settings button

? What would you like to do now?

  1. Adjust Parental Controls per User
  2. Adjust Parental Controls per Console
  3. Delete Parental Controls
  4. I forgot my PIN

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In This Guide
You'll Learn How To:
  • Understand what Parental Controls are.
  • Change what kind of content a restricted Wii U can access.
  • Understand the ESRB rating system.
  • Delete your settings.
  • Restore your Wii U if you forget your PIN.
Before We Begin:
  • Have access to your Wii U.
Wii U brand name

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

You can choose to restrict the following Wii U features:

  • Game Rating: Restrict all usage (as well as purchase through the Nintendo eShop) of software exceeding the rating level of your choice.
  • Online Interaction in Games: Restrict the use of online features of software such as online play, conversation among users, and Miiverse posts.
  • Internet Browser: Prevent use of the Internet browser.
  • Wii U Shopping Services: Restrict the use of credit cards or the purchase of software through services such as the Nintendo eShop.
  • Miiverse: Restrict users from viewing or posting content.
    • As of Nov. 7th, 2017, the Miiverse service is no longer available.
  • Friend Registration: Prevent the registrations of friends.
  • Entertainment Excluding Games: Restrict the viewing of video content, both streaming and stored on physical media such as discs, and software with video playback functions.
  • Data Management: Restrict the deletion or moving of software or save data using Data Management.
  • Internet Settings: Restrict the addition, modification, or deletion of Internet settings.

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.
  1. From the Wii U main menu, select Parental Controls.
    Wii u parental controls icon
  2. Tap Next.
    Parental controls starting up
  3. Tap Next.
    Make sure there are no kids around when you configure your controls
  4. Create the 4-digit PIN.
    Creating the 4 digit pin
  5. Enter the PIN again.
    Entering the PIN a second time for confirmation
  6. Select OK.
    OK button
  7. You'll need to select a secret question. This is in case you forget the PIN.
    Selecting a question
  8. Type in your answer.
    Nintendo Wii U secret answer
  9. Tap OK to confirm your answer.
    Confirming your answer
  10. Select OK.
    Confirmation of set PIN and question
  11. Another fail safe if you forget your PIN, is signing up an email address. You can select Next to type in your email address or select X No E-mail Address.
    Deciding whether to sign up an email
  12. You're now ready to set your Parental Control Restrictions.
    Parental control main page
  13. Using the Gamepad, select the Mii of the user you want to adjust the Parental Controls of.
    Mii user selection
  14. You can adjust game ratings, online interactions, apps, and shopping. If a restricted user tries to access the item, they will need to input the saved PIN.
  15. You can adjust these settings at any time using the PIN. You can also delete or reset all the settings at once by using the Delete All Settings button.
    Wii u parental controls delete all settings button
  1. From the Wii U main menu, select Parental Controls.
    Wii u parental controls icon
  2. Tap Parental Controls Settings.
    Parental control main page
  3. Tap OK.
    Opening page with parental warning
  4. Select the user whose restrictions you want to adjust by using the arrow button.
    Arrow button
  5. You can adjust game ratings.
    Adjusting game ratings
  6. Online Interactions in Games can be restricted entirely as can using the internet browser.
    Online interactions and the internet browser
  7. You can also restrict shopping.
    Restricting shopping
  8. Tap Miiverse to restrict the Miiverse app.
    Restricting the Miiverse
  9. Restrict the ability to register friends.
    Friend registration
  10. Tapping Entertainment Excluding Games will block Netflix and associated apps. Data Management prevents users from deleting data on your Switch. Internet Settings blocks the browser on the Switch.
    Parental settings
  11. Tap Save when finished.
    Tapping Save
  12. Tap Save again to confirm.
    Tapping save again
  1. From the Wii U main menu, select Parental Controls.
    Wii u parental controls icon
  2. Tap Parental Controls Settings.
    Parental control main page
  3. Tap OK.
    Opening page with parental warning
  4. Tap Wii Menu Settings.
    Wii Menu settings
  5. Adjusting the Wii Menu settings will set them for the console, not just users. Tap OK.
    OK button
  6. Tap Game Ratings to adjust the allowed games.
    List of settings you can change
  7. You can adjust game ratings.
    Adjusting game ratings
  8. Wii Shopping Services can be restricted entirely as can viewing unrated content like Netflix.
    More settings you can restrict with just a tap
  9. Tap Save when finished.
    Tapping Save
  10. Tap Save again to confirm.
    Tapping save again
  1. From the Wii U main menu, select Parental Controls.
    Wii u parental controls icon
  2. Tap Next to input your PIN.
    Next button
  3. Tap Delete All Settings.
    Delete all 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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