Sony offers a suite of tools built into the PS4 ecosystem that helps you protect your child when playing games, ranging from restrictions on talking to strangers on multiplayer games to restricting content to age-appropriate content only, and most importantly, setting limits on when and how long your little one can play on the PS4.

Here, we talk you through how to set up a child account on the PS4 and enable Sony’s wide range of parental controls to protect your little one. For more information about keeping your kids safe online, take a look at our recommendations of the best parental control software available right now.

Set up a Family account on PS4

The first step in setting up parental controls on the PS4 is to create a Child Account on the console. This gives you the ability to set restrictions on what your child can do when playing games on the console, as well as set time limits on the when, and how long, your kid can access the PS4.

Add a child account

The process of adding a Child Account is fairly straight forward:

  1. Log into the PS4 using your (parent) account and head to Settings > Parental Controls/Family Management > Family Management.
  2. You may be prompted to enter your PSN account password at this stage.
  3. Select Add Family Member > Create User.
  4. Enter your child’s name and date of birth, and select Next.
  5. Read and accept the User Agreement.

Follow on-screen instructions to tweak parental controls for the new profile – we go into each element in more detail below, and you can return to this page at any point and adjust the restrictions.

Give an account parent/guardian permissions

As a Family Manager, you have admin control over the rest of your family’s PSN accounts, but what if your other half wants to be able to change restrictions? Follow these steps to give an adult PSN account parent/guardian permissions.

  1. Log into the PS4 using the main Family Manager account and head to Settings > Parental Controls/Family Management > Family Management.
  2. Enter your PSN password and continue.
  3. Select the account of the family member you want to appoint, and make sure the checkbox for Parent/Guardian is ticked.

Your partner’s account should now be able to access and edit the parental controls of your child’s PS4 account.

Set a login password on the Parent account

Kids these days are pretty tech-savvy, and chances are they’ll try and access your account to try and lift the restrictions you place on their account. Thankfully, you can set a login password on the parent account, restricting access to the various parental controls on offer - unless the kids figure out your password, of course!

  1. On your PS4, go to Settings > Login Settings > Login Passcode Management.
  2. Set your four-digit passcode using the various buttons on the DualShock 4 controller – just make sure it’s memorable!
  3. Re-enter the four-digit passcode to confirm.

And that’s it! You’ll now be required to enter that four-digit passcode whenever you log into the Parent account on your console. If you ever want to change or remove the passcode, simply head back to the Login Passcode Management section of the Settings app. 

Restrict access to PS4 features

Once you’ve set up a Child Account on the PS4, you can tweak the various parental controls available to you. We break down the main parental controls below, and explain how to use each feature to help protect your child when gaming on the console.

Set Age Rating levels

One of the most valuable parental control features the PS4 offers is the ability to block access to age-inappropriate content, be it games, DVDs or Blu-rays, leaving you confident in the knowledge that your little gamer won’t be exposed to violent or potentially disturbing content when you’re not around to keep an eye on them.

To set up age rating restrictions, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the Parent account on the PS4 and head to Settings > Parental Controls/Family Management > Family Management.
  2. Enter your PSN password.
  3. Select the child account you’d like to apply the age rating restriction to, and then select Applications/Devices/Network Features.
  4. From here, you can apply a blanket age restriction to all content, or apply specific age restrictions on games and other content where necessary.

Control communication options

One of the biggest worries with letting your little one onto the PS4 without supervision is communication; how can you control who your child is talking to on PSN while playing hugely popular online multiplayer games like Fortnite?

Thankfully, there’s a way to specify who your child can speak to on the console, although it’s not quite as extensive as what Microsoft offers with the Xbox One.

  1. Log in to the Parent account on the PS4 and head to Settings > Parental Controls/Family Management > Family Management.
  2. Enter your PSN password.
  3. Select the user you want to apply communication restrictions to, and then select Applications/Devices/Network Features beneath the Parental Controls section.
  4. Locate Network features and select whether you want your child to communicate with other PSN players, and whether they’re able to view content (screenshots, videos) posted by friends in the Activities section of the console.

Restrict play time

If you want to limit the amount of time that your little one spends on the PS4, or dictate times when they can play, that’s possible with Sony’s Play Time management feature. The best part is that while you have to initially set up this functionality via the PS4, it can be tweaked via web browser and the PlayStation app. We outline the options below:

On PS4:

  1. Log in to the Parent account and go to Settings > Parental Controls/Family Management > Family Management.
  2. Enter your PSN password.
  3. Select the child’s account that you’d like to apply restrictions to.
  4. Set the correct time-zone for your country of residence, and then select Play Time Settings. From here, you can set limits on how long and when your kid can access PS4 content, and what happens when that time runs out (e.g. notify you or log out of the child’s account altogether).
  5. Hit Save to apply the changes.

Edit via web browser:

  1. Go to Sony’s Account Management site and log in with the PSN linked to the Parent account on your PS4.
  2. Select Account > Family Management > Go to Family Management and select the appropriate child account.
  3. Click Edit by the Play Time restrictions you’d like to edit or remove, and select Save to apply the changes.

Edit via the PlayStation app:

  1. Download and open the PlayStation app, available via both the App Store and Google Play.
  2. Log in with the PSN account associated with the Parent account on your PS4.
  3. Tap the PS icon at the bottom of the screen and select Settings > Account Information.
  4. Tap the menu icon in the top-left of the display, and select Family Management.
  5. Select the appropriate child account and tap Edit next to the Play Time restrictions you’ve set to change or remove them.
  6. Once you’re happy with your changes, press Save to apply the new restrictions.

Disable web browser

The PS4’s built-in web browser is a very handy thing to have, especially if you want to watch content that isn’t officially available via the plethora of streaming services the PS4 offers, but the idea of leaving your child with unfettered access to the internet may be daunting.

Sony agrees, and that’s why you can disable the use of the web browser on your child’s account altogether.

  1. Log in to the Parent account on the PS4 and head to Settings > Parental Controls/Family Management > Family Management.
  2. Enter your PSN password.
  3. Select the user you’d like to set the restrictions for and select Applications/Devices/Network Features.
  4. Scroll down to Use of Internet Browser, and select Not Allowed.

And there you have it! With these parental control features under your belt, you can be safe in the knowledge that your child is having a fun and safe experience on the PS4 when you’re not around.