Play Time Management and Other PS4 Tips for Gaming Families

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Play Time Management and Other PS4 Tips for Gaming Families

A guide to the family-centric features now available in your PS4.

Hi everyone. The latest system software update (v5.50) just recently added a new Play Time Management feature for you to keep track of playtime for your kids. This new feature is part of our revamped parental control system that offers a more flexible experience for families on PlayStation 4. We put together a guide of some of the top parental control tips you can take advantage of to make gameplay much more manageable for your little gamers.

Set Up an Account for Your Child

First, set up your kids’ account from Family Management. You can either create a new account for your child, or add an existing PSN account to the main family account. All parental control settings can be customized for each child, so restrictions like age rating levels for games can be set separately. You can also keep each family member’s data separate and allow everyone to save their own game progress and settings, and earn their own PSN trophies.

  • Go to [Settings] > [Parental Controls/Family Management].
  • Select [Family Management], you will asked to enter your PSN password again.
  • Follow onscreen instructions to add family members.

PS4 System Software Update 5.00

Play Time Management

Managing your kids’ playtime on PS4 is easy with v5.50’s new Play Time Management feature.

  • Go to [Settings] > [Parental Controls/Family Management]> [Family Management], or log into your PlayStation account on the web to check and manage your child’s playtime each day.
  • Apply playtime restrictions to make sure that the child is only playing for a set amount of time.
  • Your child will receive notifications during gameplay so that he or she knows when they should save and quit. You have the option to add extra game time via your smartphone or PC.
  • There’s also an option to automatically log the child out of their account once their playtime is over.

PS4 System Software Update 5.50: Play Time Managment

Setting Age Rating Levels for Games, Blu-Ray and DVD Discs

You can customize the age rating levels for games, Blu-ray and DVDs to ensure the games your child are playing is age-appropriate. Be sure the check the ESRB rating for each game title.

For Games:

  • Go to [Settings] > [Parental Controls/Family Management] > [Family Management].
  • Select the user you want to set the age level for, then select [Parental Controls].
  • Scroll down to [Age Level for Games] and press the [X] button.
  • Choose the age rating level you would like to set on this account

For Blu-Ray and DVD discs:

  • Go to [Settings] > [Parental Controls/Family Management] > [Family Management].
  • Select the user you want to set the age level for, then select [Parental Controls].
  • Scroll down to [Age Level for Blu-ray Disc and DVD Videos] and press the [X] button.
  • Choose the age rating levels you would like to set for Blu-ray and DVD on this account.

Set a System Restriction Passcode

You can add an extra layer of security by setting a System Restriction Passcode on your PS4. This prevents other users from logging into your account to make changes to parental controls, or view unauthorized content.

  • Go to [Settings] > [Parental Controls/Family Management] .
  • Select [PS4 System Restrictions].
  • You’ll be prompted to enter the default passcode before changing to a new one. The default passcode is “0000.”

Set a Monthly Spending Limit

Want to make sure your child is sticking to the family budget? You can set a limit directly on your PS4.

  • Go to [Settings] > [Parental Controls/Family Management] > [Family Management].
  • Select the family member you wish to set a spending limit for.
  • Go to [Parental Controls] > [Monthly Spending Limit], and choose the maximum dollar amount.

Restrict Access to Network Features

You can choose whether to allow a child to communicate with other players on PSN, or view content created by other players.

  • Go to [Settings] > [Parental Controls/Family Management] > [Family Management].
  • Select the user you want to set parental controls for, then select [Parental Controls].

Restrict the Internet Browser

If you want to keep your kids on the game, and off the Internet, here are the steps below.

  • Go to [Settings] > [Parental Controls/Family Management] > [Family Management].
  • Select the user you want to apply Internet Browser restrictions.
  • Scroll down to ‘Use of Internet Browser’ and press the [X] button.
  • Select ‘Not Allowed’ to restrict this family member from accessing the Internet via the PS4 system’s web browser.

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  • I need this for MY account due to Monster Hunter…

  • Before all the haters start posting the inevitable “the parents should just do their jobs” posts, let me thank Sony for this. It’s a touch later than would have been ideal for my family, but it’s a nice tool to have. No, it doesn’t do my parenting job for me – but it gives me a useful tool to monitor and work with my kids on what is allowed and helps keep them honest.

    Too often technology is an enemy of parenting. It doesn’t have to be that way, and tools like this – that parents can use, or not, as fits their needs – can be helpful.

    • “Before all the haters start posting the inevitable “the parents should just do their jobs” posts, let me thank Sony for this.”

      I can tell you one parent to someone who may soon be one, yes it is your job.

  • A very great feature! completely agree it helps a lot to help kids to learn self control and healthy limits. I think I’ll probably try this for me too when sometimes you just wanna keep playing but the next day you have to wake up early. thanks SONY for this kind of family focused features. I was thinking about this matter in the past months.. still I think it should have also an option for adults that just want to keep good habits or enforce them with the option to choose the amount of time you have for the day to play and count it. Personal opinion.

  • I sure wish Sony would let me change the age of my childs account so I could use this feature. I created his account using my birthday many years ago and now I can’t use any of the parental features on his account. He has too many game saves to just start over.

  • I set this up immediately for my kids. Not necessarily for the restrictions but so they are added as a family member and not just some random added user. What I don’t quite understand is the access to wallet part. In order for me to allow them PlayStation Network access I have to create an email address for them. I feel weird about having to create an email account for a 9 and 10 year old. I with this was still linked to the Master Users email. So they can. Just login with my credentials and browse the store. My question is if I do make an PSN account for them with their own email address, how do they have access to the wallet?

    • Get a gmail account for this purpose – that’s what I did. Let’s say your gmail account is johnsmith@gmail – well, Google will route anything with any number of periods in the username to the same place. So john.smith@gmail and j.ohnsmith@gmail and j.o.h.n.s.m.i.t.h@gmail and so on, all work. Meanwhile, Sony sees all of those as different addresses, so you can assign each one to a different kid, and YOU get all the email, but THEY have “their own” address.

  • Honestly you should make this a feature for everyone. It would actually increase my playing time. I end up not even turning the PS4 on for weeks because I know if I start that new RPG or open world game I’ll get sucked in and not manage my time. Having notifications and such would make me feel more free to turn it on after work. I imagine other adults would love the game keeping track of time and limits as an external accountability monitoring source.

  • We have 2 PS4s for our family of 6. I’d get another one or two except for how restrictive digital content sharing is for multi PS4 households.

    That’s number one on my wish list to be addressed.

    • my #1 complaint with the PS4… would love to not have to worry about making my ps4 the primary and the other the primary of another family member so we can all use the content… such a pain at times.

    • etscott, I agree with you 100%. When PS3 came out, it support Master account on up to 4 systems. Towards the end of PS3 they changed it to 2. Now PS4 is 1. I have a family of 4. It sucks. I would glagly buy more tvs and PS4s if we could share games. They think that limiting how many systems on one account will make them more money. That we’ll buy more games. Right now we share one so I only buy enough games for the limited time we share. They are losing money. If there was a family share on multiple systems, I would buy more. True, only one copy of a game per family but with more systems, we would have more time and could play more games. So we would buy more. They could make the family account locked to a single ip so no shady business. There are ways to do this for a legitimate household. Family Plus accounts. I’d pay $100 a year for that. Hopefully they wise up soon.

    • Good idea on family plus account. I also would pay for that

  • How about letting parents control adult family members time as well? not all our family members are children and would love to still control the play time (teenagers).

  • Cannot wait to try this for the family. It will help EVERYONE in the family keep better boundaries. Thanks for listening and hearing the parents on this one. Really appreciated from a Dad of to amazing gamer boys!

  • These are great additions that can possibly be used as a ‘band-aid’ on one’s main account for playtime stats.

    With that said, please introduce playtime stats like Steam has. Where it shows overall hours played, etc., for each game.

  • With four kids, I love this feature. I had set it up during the beta and it has been working great…until today. With my kids on spring break, I forgot that they would hit their daily week day play time limit much sooner than expected. No problem, I’ll just adjust their times through the PS4, the app or the website. The problem is that the machine only seems to adjust these quotas/restrictions each night at midnight. So I’m sure this will be a non-issue tomorrow, but it would have been great to have those adjustments reflect instantly to extend/amend their play time in the same day for moments like this. A minor gripe for an otherwise great new feature.

  • You should expand the feature to support adult time management…not only kids.
    We need this.
    I’d like to monitor and manage my gameplay hours before I fall into gaming addiction…

  • Would love the ability to see how much time I’ve spent on a game in total and how many times I’ve played it, and see them all in a big comparative list with all the games and apps I’ve used. Just like on 3DS.

  • I love these features. I too would love to see the ability to change my children’s age back to what it should be. I’d also like to take the age restrictions one step further and be able to select specifically which games to allow my children to play. I’d let my kids play SW Battlefront 2 online or Steep even though they are rated T, but I wouldn’t let them play Uncharted: Lost Legacy.

  • Does anyone know if the time logged is only actual game play? If someone logs in and only uses the messaging feature will that time be logged under ‘time played today’?

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