With all the talk of violence in video games in the news lately, it seems Nintendo is taking another step to make parents’ jobs a little easier in monitoring what and when their kids are playing. In case you didn’t know, the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls App has been available for both iOS and Android for some time. The app aims to help parents to monitor and restrict their kids’ playtime, check what games they are playing and restrict games that are above the kids’ age according to relevant ratings. Now, according to nintendoeverything, the app has a new update.
The update includes a few interesting upgrades including the option to ‘whitelist’ titles so as to exclude them from Parental Control restrictions and increase the time range for the bedtime alarm. Settings changes that are made will also sync to the console even if the console is in sleep mode. Plus, for all you parents with smarter and possibly sneakier children, you can now lock the app so that fingerprint or Apple’s FaceID will be needed to unlock it. So good on Nintendo for making these changes – anything that makes looking after children easier is always a good thing in my book. Oddly, much of Nintendo’s imaging in the parental control area apparently indicates that all parents should be more like Bowser. However, a disclaimer at this point: When imitating Bowser please remember: Keeping an eye on what your kids are playing and using hopelessly huge fingers to change app settings on your tiny phone is good (some would even say endearing). But kidnapping a neighbouring country’s royal daughter, setting anything you don’t like on fire and abusing hired labour is generally frowned upon, illegal in most countries and definitely the kind of thing that will limit that good old “quality time” you want to spend with your kids.
However, for all you parents and non-parents alike the last sentence in the What’s New blurb really stands out:
In order to use some of these features, you will need to update the Nintendo Switch system version to 5.0.0 or later.
A quick look at my Switch at home tells me that my system is up-to-date and is currently version 4.1.0. So it seems a bigger update to the Switch System is on its way. Could we finally be getting folder support? Perhaps, the ability to add themes? Or is this all just part of the Nintendo Switch online plan for later this year? Well, no indication on any of these items yet, however, as the app is already live, one could be forgiven for hoping for changes to be coming sooner rather than later.
So it was definitely ‘sooner’; Overnight Nintendo released the new Switch System update! So was it folder support? Some more themes? Unfortunately, it is somewhat less exciting than that – improvements included in the new version are:
- Friends from Facebook and Twitter that also have a Switch can now be added to the Friends Suggestion section.
- Games ‘whitelisted’ through the Parental Control app are now available.
- Captured videos in Album will display only if not restricted by the Parental Controls and software rating.
- Parental Control PIN entry is no longer made through an on-screen number pad, but rather the Control Stick.
- 24 New ARMS and Kirby series icons can now be used as a user pics.
- Digital software purchases made from a PC or smart device will start downloading on the Switch even if it is in sleep mode.
- Notifications will pop up when pre-purchased software is ready to play.
- Finally! You can filter news items (Unread, or only from specific channels).
- Pro Controller grip colours will now display in the Controllers menu.
And that’s it! It’s not a big download – but will take at least a few minutes to update depending on your connection speed. So remember if you are playing any online games (especially if you are going to join us later tonight for our weekly Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe games from 8 to 10pm), you’ll probably want to make the change before starting your games. So schedule accordingly!