Your PlayStation 4 offers parental controls that can limit access to games, Blu-ray movies, DVDs, and web browsing. Your restrictions are protected with a four-digit numerical PIN so they can’t be easily bypassed.
Sony also offers sub-accounts, which are associated with the PlayStation Network online service. These allow you to limit chatting, restrict access to user-generated media, filter the PlayStation Store, and set a monthly spending limit for different user accounts. Here’s how to set it all up.
How to Set Console-Wide Parental Controls
To get started, power on your PS4, 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” option in the list and press “X.”
Select “Restrict Use of PS4 Features” 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 Restrict Use of PS4 Features offers settings of restricting games, Blu-Ray discs and DVDs, Internet browsing, and creation of new user profiles.
To restrict games by age rating, select “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 “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.
To restrict Internet browsing, you can either disable access to the Internet Browser entirely or set up a Web Filter to filter websites. To disable access to the web browser, select “Internet Browser,” press “X,” and set it to “Do Not Allow.”
To set up a web filter, select “Web Filter.” To use this feature, you’ll have to purchase a Trend Micro web security license from the PlayStation Store. You may want to skip this and just disable access to the Internet Browser, or configure parental controls network-wide on your router for free.
To prevent people from setting up a new user on the PS4, select “Select [New User] and Log In to PS4” and set it to “Do Not Allow.”
You can then restrict access to the PS4’s existing profiles with passcodes. Only people with approved profiles will be able to use the PlayStation 4 and play games.
When you’re done, be sure to select “Change 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.”
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 Create PlayStation Network Sub-Accounts
To restrict online features, you’ll need to create sub-accounts. Only the master account holder on the PlayStation 4 can do this. This just gives children access to their own restricted sub-accounts they can use instead of your online PlayStation Network account. You may just want to set up parental controls using the above features and skip the additional account creation options on this screen, as it’s a bit more complex.
To create and manage sub-accounts, head to Settings > Parental Controls in the same way as above. Select “Sub Account Management” instead of “Restrict Use of PS4 Features” on the Parental Controls screen. Sign in with your PlayStation Network account and password when prompted.
After you sign in, you’ll see a “Create New Sub Account” option here. You can create multiple accounts and configure different online settings for each. You can restrict online-chatting, user-created media, mature content in the store, and how much your children can spend per month in the PlayStation Store from here.
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.