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The Nintendo Switch’s Parental Controls

Kotaku’s Luke Plunkett, in a story about the usefulness and elegant design of Nintendo’s Parental Controls app for the Switch (which is available on iOS here):

But the Switch comes from a very Nintendo place, where it feels like they don’t just want to tick a few legal/ethical boxes, but genuinely help parents (and, by extension, the kids who are being affected by these limitations). Like the Xbox and PlayStation, the Switch lets adults restrict a child’s ability to play games with certain ratings, or stop them from using a specific type of program. But it’s the extra stuff the Switch does, and the ease with which you can do it, that makes all the difference.

First up: I appreciate the fact that the Switch’s parental controls are housed in a standalone app, rather than something I need to burrow down into system menus for. There’s a practical benefit to that, as it’s faster and easier to get to these settings, but it also sends a message: by breaking the parental control suite out into its own app, rather than house everything alongside the rest of the system’s settings, it shows Nintendo are treating them as a separate and more important matter than what my resolution or surround sound settings are.

I don’t have kids, but I’ve long heard from MacStories readers that this kind of model – a ‘Family’ app on the Home screen with lots of stats and easy-to-access controls for parents – would be fantastic to have on iOS. Given Apple’s commitment to families, I’m surprised iOS’ parental controls seem so lackluster when compared to what Nintendo has done with a game console.