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How to Set Up Nintendo 3DS Parental Controls


Nintendo 3DS Setup

Nintendo 3DS Setup

Image © Nintendo
The Nintendo 3DS is a multi-function portable system: It can play games, it can go online, it can be used to surf the internet, and users can visit a digital (online) marketplace to buy downloadable games and retro titles from the "Virtual Console" service. Understandably, a parent might want to limit their child's activity on the Nintendo 3DS, which is why Nintendo included a very thorough set of Parental Controls for the system.

This step-by-step guide will help you access and set up the Nintendo 3DS's Parental Controls. For a complete explanation of each blockable function, visit the Parental Controls Breakdown.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 10 Minutes

Here's How:

  1. Turn on your Nintendo 3DS.
  2. Scroll your Home Menu until you see the "System Settings" icon (It looks like a wrench). Tap it.
  3. Tap "Parental Controls" in the upper left-hand corner.
  4. You will be asked if you'd like to set up Parental Controls. Tap "Yes."
  5. You'll be asked to note that the Parental Control settings don't apply for Nintendo DS games that are played on the 3DS. If you accept this, tap "Next."
  6. You will be asked to choose a personal identification number (PIN), which will be required whenever you wish for unrestricted access to the Nintendo 3DS's functions. Make sure the number isn't easy to guess, but don't forget it yourself!
  7. You will also be asked to choose a "Secret Question" in case you forget your PIN. You must choose one question from a list of predetermined questions (such as "What did you call your first pet?", or, "Where were you born?"). You will then be asked to type in the answer, which is what you'll need to provide in order to retrieve your lost PIN. The answer must match exactly, so remember: Caps count!
  8. Once your PIN and Secret Question are set up, you'll be able to access the main menu for Parental Controls. From here, you can "Set Restrictions," "Change your PIN," or choose "Clear Settings" to delete all your Parental Control Settings.
  9. If you choose "Set Restrictions," you'll see a menu of settings that you can control on the Nintendo 3DS, including the ability to enable/disable Friend Registration, DS Download Play, Software Ratings, Internet Browser, Nintendo 3DS Shopping Services, the Display of 3D Images, Audio/Image/Video Sharing, Online Interaction, StreetPass, DS Download Play, and Distributed Video Viewing.
  10. For a complete explanation of what each of these functions mean, and specifics on what blocking them will actually do, view the Parental Controls Breakdown.


  1. You will need to enter your PIN if you want to edit or reset the Nintendo 3DS's parental controls. If you forget your PIN and the Secret Question you entered for PIN retrieval, you'll need to contact Nintendo.
  2. Some of the Secret Questions that are necessary for PIN retrieval are a little obvious, so choose one wisely. For instance, you can ask yourself, "What is my favorite sports team?" which might prove a bit easy for your child to guess.

What You Need

  • A Nintendo 3DS
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