Your PlayStation 4 offers parental controls that can limit access to games, Blu-ray movies, DVDs, and web browsing. Restrictions you set are protected with a four-digit numerical PIN so they can’t be easily bypassed.
With the PlayStation 4 system software 5.00, Sony now offers a new “Family” feature that replaces the old “sub-account” and “master account” system. You can restrict individual child accounts, applying separate settings to each.
How to Set Console-Wide Parental Controls
To get started, power on your PlayStation 4, sign in with a user account, and access the home screen. You can press the “PlayStation” button in the center of the controller to access the home screen if you’re on another screen.
Press the “Up” button on the controller to access the row of icons on the top of the screen, select the “Settings” icon on the right, and press the “X” button.
Select the “Parental Controls/Family Management” option in the list and press “X.”
Select “PS4 System Restrictions” here.
You’ll be prompted to enter the parental controls passcode. If you haven’t set a custom PIN yet, enter the default code, which is 0000. Press the “Square” button four times to enter 0000.
The System Restrictions give you a few options. By default, “New User and Guest Login” is allowed. You can disable this feature to ensure guests or new users can’t sign in, which would prevent child users from bypassing any restrictions on their individual accounts.
After doing this, you can then restrict access to the PlayStation 4’s existing profiles with passcodes. Only people with approved profiles will be able to use the PlayStation 4 and play games.
Select “Default Parental Controls” to choose the system-wide settings for guests who don’t sign in and new user accounts. You can set separate age levels for games and Blu-ray discs/DVDs. You can also choose whether or not guest users can use PlayStation VR or access the console’s Internet Browser.
To restrict games by age rating, select “Age Level for Games.” You can scroll through the list and select an appropriate age rating for games. For example, if you select “Level 5: Age 12 or Older (Approximation)”, only games rated T (for “Teen”) by the ESRB can be played. You’ll see different ratings here depending on the country you’re in, as different countries have different ratings systems.
To restrict Blu-rays and DVD movies, select “Age Level for Blu-ray Disc / DVD.” You can prevent children from watching Blu-rays and DVDs entirely, or select different parental control levels. For Blu-ray Discs, you can select an age–a lower age means a tighter restriction.
For DVDs, you can select a number from 1 to 8–the lower the number, the tighter the restriction. Sony doesn’t explain exactly what the DVD numbers correspond to, unfortunately, so it’s unclear which number is precisely ideal for which age range.
The “Web Filter” option will prompt you to purchase a Trend Micro subscription through the PlayStation Store. However, you could always block users from using the PlayStation 4’s browser entirely instead, or configure parental controls network-wide on your router for free.
When you’re done, be sure to select “Change System Restriction Passcode” and set a custom parental control passcode. Passcodes are four-digit numerical PINs. If you don’t set a custom passcode, your PlayStation 4 will continue using the default passcode of “0000.”
The “Temporarily Disable PS4 System Restrictions” option here will allow you to toggle all these restrictions off temporarily with the flick of a checkbox—for example, when adults are using the console.
How to Require a Password for PlayStation Store Purchases
To prevent your children from buying stuff on the PlayStation Store without your permission, you can require that your password be provided during the purchase process.
To do this, head to Sony Entertainment’s account management website and sign in with the account you used when setting up the PlayStation 4. Click “Account” and click “Wallet.” Under Account Settings, click “Edit” and set the “Require Password at Checkout” option to “Yes.” Your children won’t be able to purchase things without the password, even if you’ve save your payment method in the PlayStation Store.
How to Manage Individual Child Accounts
To restrict online features, you’ll need to create other accounts for your Family. The PlayStation 4 now uses parent accounts and child accounts. If you add an account with an age younger than 18, it will be considered a child account you can restrict.
To manage your Family accounts, head to Settings > Parental Controls/Family Management in the same way as above and select “Family Management”.
Sign in with your PlayStation Network account and password when prompted.
After you sign in, you’ll see an “Add Family Member” screen. You can either add an existing user account on the PlayStation 4 to your family, add a user account from your friends list, enter the user account’s PlayStation Network account details, or create a user account—which can be a local user account without a PSN account.
If you add an adult account with an age of 18 or over, you can make that user a family manager with permission to change parental control settings, too.
Once you’ve added a new user account, you can select an age level for games and age level for video discs for that account. You can also choose whether that user can use the Internet Browser or PlayStation VR.
You can also disallow the user account from signing in with a PlayStation Network account and thereby restrict the use off online features.
To manage these account settings in the future, head back to Settings > Parental Controls/Family Management > Family Management. Select the user account you want to manage or use the “Add Family Member” button to add additional accounts.
If you select a user account, you’ll be able to modify parental control settings for that account, choose whether the family member can join the PlayStation Network, and delete the user profile from your system, if you like.
The parental controls here are helpful for limiting access to things–limiting access to games and media by their age ranges and blocking access to websites, for example. Unfortunately, there are no options for restricting children to only using the console during certain hours of the day, gaming time limits, and other potentially useful time restrictions.