Here at ATQNE, some of us are caring parents. I personally am not (unless you count a three-legged lizard). But in my offline life I am a teacher, so I like to believe I understand the plight of parents in making sure their children are gaming responsibly. Fortunately, Nintendo likes to believe they know that too and have developed an app to help with this. It’s called Switch Parental Controls, and can be downloaded for free on Google Play and the App store.
I tried it out on my own Switch so that I could see how well it works, and was amazed that it has uses beyond parenting. So I’m here to tell you all about this must-have feature for Nintendo’s newest console.
What Can It Do To Regulate Gameplay?
First and foremost, it is meant to control and monitor how the Switch is used. For its intended purpose, that means setting play limits to the console. It is very comprehensive.
Using this app, you can remotely set a time limit for the amount of play per day. You can even set different limits for different days, so your child can game more on the weekend and is forced to stop early on school nights. You can even set a bedtime alarm to let your kids know when it’s time to stop for the night.
For its non-intended purpose, this is great for regulating your own play time. This would have been a gift from the Gods when I was in college preparing for final exams. I knew one person that would literally ship his games home the week before major assignments and test so that he wasn’t tempted. But if he had this app, it wouldn’t have been necessary. Even as an adult, this can be great for meeting deadlines or getting to work on time.
Another neat feature, although useless for childless adults, is an age filter. You can set the content limits of the console by selecting an age range. That means that, if your child is too young to play M-rated games, you can prevent them from being played or downloaded straight from the app. I wish I could do this to my younger students that play GTA!
That’s Neat! But Can It Do More?
Of course it can!
Hey, remember the data journal on the 3DS? You could check exactly how much and which games you played every day. It was very useful for data collecting, if that’s what you’re in to.
But where is that feature on the Switch? Mostly in this app.
As you can see in the picture above, I spent about 2-5 hours a weekday playing games. Considering that I worked most days until 5:00pm, it means I spent most of my time at home gaming. I should probably scale that back if I want to be a productive member of society. Thanks, Switch Parental Controls app!
If you’re a parent, this is extremely useful. Not only can you keep track of how much time your child played, you can even see what games they played. Clicking on the game’s icon will take you to a page that tells you about the game, leading to more relatable conversations at the dinner table. And if your child is doing something they shouldn’t on the console, it will tell you that too. On days where an incorrect PIN was entered to change the parental control settings, a red mark is displayed.
Is It Worth It?
I’d say it is definitely worth it, even if you don’t have children. Even if you don’t set restrictions, it is very useful for tracking your own playing habits, which could lead to some revelations and necessary changes in your daily routine.
The app is free and can be turned off with a PIN, so why not? At the very least, it could be very annoying to someone that may steal your Switch!
JD Case, aka JiggsDixon, is a lifelong Nintendo fan. Stay tuned for more Nintendo-related content here at All Things Quite Nerdy Entertainment. Feel free to add him on your Switch with his friend code: SW-3930-7723-0901