How to Set Up Parental Controls on a PlayStation 4

Introduction

In This Guide
You'll Learn How To:
  • Understand what Parental Controls are.
  • Change what kind of content a restricted PlayStation 4 can access.
  • Understand the ESRB rating system.
  • Create a family account.
Before We Begin:
  • Have access to your PlayStation 4.

PlayStation 4 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 Parental Controls Overview

As a parent or guardian, you can use parental controls to restrict access to certain content or features for children using your PS4 system. To set parental controls, you'll need an adult account and to set up a family.

Parental Controls on the PlayStation 4 can:

  • Set monthly spending allowances
  • Restrict contacting other PSN users
  • Restrict viewing and sharing user-generated content
  • Restrict games, Blu-Rays, and DVD discs based on age ratings
  • Restrict use of the PlayStation VR headset
  • Restrict access to the internet browser
  • Block new user creation and guest login.
  • Change security passcodes.
  • Set default Parental Controls which will apply to new users and guests

3 Family Account Check

As a parent or guardian, you can use parental controls to restrict access to certain content or features for children using your PS4 system. If you choose not to setup or use a Family Account, all restrictions will be set at a console level for everyone who uses it.
Playstation 4 account overview
PS4 Family Manager (Adult)
This is the account that represents everything you and your family do with your PS4. When you create a family, you are the family manager. As the family manager, you can add and manage family members, and set parental controls. You must be an adult to create a family.
Adult (Family Member) Accounts
As a parent or guardian, you can set parental controls. The family manager can appoint another adult family member as a parent or guardian.
Child Accounts
If you add an account with an age younger than 18, it will be considered a child account you can restrict. Parental Restrictions are automatic when an account is flagged as a Child. Be sure to input the proper age when creating a Child account. Children are automatically added to the family of the adult who creates their user accounts. Children cannot be removed from the family they are added to, so be sure that the adult who creates a child's user account intends to be the family manager.

? Do you have a adult account already created?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. I want to restrict the PS4 for all users

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In This Guide
You'll Learn How To:
  • Understand what Parental Controls are.
  • Change what kind of content a restricted PlayStation 4 can access.
  • Understand the ESRB rating system.
  • Create a family account.
Before We Begin:
  • Have access to your PlayStation 4.

PlayStation 4 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.

As a parent or guardian, you can use parental controls to restrict access to certain content or features for children using your PS4 system. To set parental controls, you'll need an adult account and to set up a family.

Parental Controls on the PlayStation 4 can:

  • Set monthly spending allowances
  • Restrict contacting other PSN users
  • Restrict viewing and sharing user-generated content
  • Restrict games, Blu-Rays, and DVD discs based on age ratings
  • Restrict use of the PlayStation VR headset
  • Restrict access to the internet browser
  • Block new user creation and guest login.
  • Change security passcodes.
  • Set default Parental Controls which will apply to new users and guests
As a parent or guardian, you can use parental controls to restrict access to certain content or features for children using your PS4 system. If you choose not to setup or use a Family Account, all restrictions will be set at a console level for everyone who uses it.
Playstation 4 account overview
PS4 Family Manager (Adult)
This is the account that represents everything you and your family do with your PS4. When you create a family, you are the family manager. As the family manager, you can add and manage family members, and set parental controls. You must be an adult to create a family.
Adult (Family Member) Accounts
As a parent or guardian, you can set parental controls. The family manager can appoint another adult family member as a parent or guardian.
Child Accounts
If you add an account with an age younger than 18, it will be considered a child account you can restrict. Parental Restrictions are automatic when an account is flagged as a Child. Be sure to input the proper age when creating a Child account. Children are automatically added to the family of the adult who creates their user accounts. Children cannot be removed from the family they are added to, so be sure that the adult who creates a child's user account intends to be the family manager.
There are a variety of settings you can adjust and control using Family Management:
Ratings Control
This lets you restrict what kinds of games a player can open, based on the ESRB Ratings guidelines and age.
Enable or Disable New Users or Guests
This will block attempts to get around the Parental Controls by creating new users or logging in as a guest.
Use of PlayStation VR
Blocks the use of PlayStation VR entirely when toggled.
Internet Access
Blocks the browser from working entirely when toggled.
  1. Navigate to Settings.
    PS4 settings
  2. Select Parental Controls/Family Management.
    Parental Controls and family management
  3. Select Family Management.
    Family management
  4. Select the account you want to adjust.
    Selecting an account
  5. Select Parental Controls.
    Parental Controls
  6. From here you can adjust the age ranges for games and videos, as well as restrict the use of PlayStation VR and the Internet Browser.
    The default parental controls
  1. Navigate to Settings.
    PS4 settings
  2. Select Parental Controls/Family Management.
    Parental Controls and family management
  3. Select Family Management.
    Family management
  4. Select the account you want to adjust.
    Selecting an account
  5. Select Joining PlayStation Network.
    Selecting playstation network
  6. From here you'll be able to select whether the user can log into the PlayStation Network.

These steps assume you have already set up your PlayStation 4 with at least one account. 

  1. Navigate to Settings.
    PS4 settings
  2. Select Parental Controls/Family Management.
    Parental Controls and family management
  3. Select Family Management.
    Family management
  4. From here you can either choose to add users to your Family Member Account from those already on the PS4 or create a User. 
    Choosing to use already added accounts
  5. Choosing either will prompt you to enter a name and date of birth.
    Asking for a name and date of birth
  6. You can then choose their level of access.
    Parental controls landing page.
There are a number of settings and controls you can adjust at the console level:
Web Filtering
An extremely restrictive filter that blocks everything, except only what a parent allows the Child account to see when browsing web pages with the PlayStation 4. This is provided by Trend Micro and requires a subscription.
Ratings Control
This lets you restrict what kinds of games a player can open, based on the ESRB Ratings guidelines and age.
Enable or Disable New Users or Guests
This will block attempts to get around the Parental Controls by creating new users or logging in as a guest.
Use of PlayStation VR
Blocks the use of PlayStation VR entirely when toggled.
Internet Access
Blocks the browser from working entirely when toggled.
  1. Navigate to Settings.
    PS4 settings
  2. Select Parental Controls/Family Management.
    Parental Controls and family management
  3. Select PS4 System Restrictions.
    PS4 system restrictions
  4. Enter the Parental Control passcode.
    Parental passcode input

    The default passcode is 0000. 

  5. Select New User Creation and Guest Login.
    System restrictions list
  6. By default this setting is set to Allowed. If you select Not Allowed you prevent creation of new users or guests.
  1. Navigate to Settings.
    PS4 settings
  2. Select Parental Controls/Family Management.
    Parental Controls and family management
  3. Select PS4 System Restrictions.
    PS4 system restrictions
  4. Enter the Parental Control passcode.
    Parental passcode input

    The default passcode is 0000. 

  5. Select Web Filter.
    Web filter
  6. The Web Filter is provided by Trend Micro. It will send you to the PlayStation Store to purchase a subscription.
    Trend Micro Subscription
  1. Navigate to Settings.
    PS4 settings
  2. Select Parental Controls/Family Management.
    Parental Controls and family management
  3. Select PS4 System Restrictions.
    PS4 system restrictions
  4. Enter the Parental Control passcode.
    Parental passcode input

    The default passcode is 0000. 

  5. Select Default Parental Controls.
    Default parental controls
  6. A separate list of settings will be given.
    The default parental controls
  7. From here you can set separate age levels for games.
    Game age level settings
  8. And Blu-ray discs and DVDs.
    Dvd and blu ray age level settings
  9. You can also choose whether or not guest users can use PlayStation VR or access the console's Internet Browser.
  1. Navigate to Settings.
    PS4 settings
  2. Select Parental Controls/Family Management.
    Parental Controls and family management
  3. Select PS4 System Restrictions.
    PS4 system restrictions
  4. Enter the Parental Control passcode.
    Parental passcode input

    The default passcode is 0000. 

  5. Select Temporarily Disable PS4 System Restrictions.
    Temporarily disabling restrictions
  6. Select this option to allow you to toggle all these restrictions off temporarily with the flick of a checkbox.
  1. Navigate to Settings.
    PS4 settings
  2. Select Parental Controls/Family Management.
    Parental Controls and family management
  3. Select PS4 System Restrictions.
    PS4 system restrictions
  4. Enter the Parental Control passcode.
    Parental passcode input

    The default passcode is 0000. 

  5. Select Change System Restriction Passcode.
    Changing the system passcode
  6. Set a custom parental control passcode or continue to use the default passcode of "0000".
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