How to limit online purchases on a child’s gaming console?

Imagine this: Your child excitedly shows you their latest in-game purchase, a flashy new skin or a powerful virtual weapon. But when you ask how they got it, the answer is a sheepish “I bought it with your credit card.” This scenario is becoming increasingly common, with children making unauthorized purchases on gaming consoles.

The consequences of uncontrolled spending on gaming consoles can be significant. From unexpected credit card bills to financial stress, the impact can extend beyond just the game itself. This is where parental control comes in.

Parental control tools offer a vital safety net, enabling you to set spending limits and prevent your child from making impulsive purchases. These tools can give you peace of mind knowing that you are protecting your child from the potential financial repercussions of online purchases.

Understanding Console-Specific Settings

Understanding Console-Specific Settings

Parental controls on gaming consoles offer a way to manage your child’s online activities, including spending habits. Here’s a breakdown of how these controls work on popular consoles.


On a PlayStation console, you can configure parental controls within the console’s settings. To access these settings, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Settings menu on your PlayStation.
  2. Select Family Management.
  3. Choose Parental Controls.

Here, you can set spending limits for your child’s PlayStation Store account. This allows you to control how much they can spend on games, DLC, and in-game purchases. You can also restrict certain content by setting age ratings for games, movies, and TV shows.


Xbox consoles have a similar parental control system that you can access through the Settings menu. Here’s how to manage online purchases on your Xbox:

  1. Go to Settings on your Xbox console.
  2. Select Account.
  3. Choose Family Settings.
  4. Select the child’s account you want to manage.

You can set spending limits and restrict purchases for your child’s account within the Xbox Family Settings. You can also manage what content they can access based on age ratings.

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch offers parental controls that you can set up through a smartphone app called Nintendo Switch Parental Controls. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Download the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app on your smartphone.
  2. Link the app to your Nintendo Switch account.
  3. You can then access various settings, including:
Console Spending Limit Settings
PlayStation Set a maximum amount your child can spend on the PlayStation Store.
Xbox Set spending limits for purchases on the Microsoft Store.
Nintendo Switch Set limits on spending on the Nintendo eShop.

By understanding these console-specific settings, you can effectively manage your child’s online activities and spending habits, ensuring a safe and enjoyable gaming experience.

Third-Party Apps and Services

You can enhance the parental controls provided by the console itself by using third-party applications and services. These apps offer more granular control over various aspects, including online spending, content access, and playtime. Here are some examples:

Communicating with Your Child

It’s important to have open and honest conversations with your child about online spending. Explain the value of money, setting spending limits, and promoting responsible online behavior.

Here are some practical tips for communicating with your child about online purchases:

By setting online purchase limits and utilizing parental controls, you’re not just safeguarding your child’s spending, but also fostering responsible gaming habits and promoting a healthy digital environment. Remember, your role as a parent is crucial in guiding your child’s gaming experience. Regularly review and adjust these settings as your child grows and their needs change. By taking these steps, you’re empowering your child to enjoy their gaming time while instilling financial awareness and responsible digital practices.