How to set limits on game purchases on a kid’s console?

You’re scrolling through your bank statement and notice a series of small charges you don’t recognize. A quick check with your child reveals the culprit: in-game purchases on their console. This scenario, unfortunately, is becoming increasingly common. Kids, enthralled by the latest games and eager to progress quickly, can easily lose track of spending. Uncontrolled spending on in-game purchases can strain family budgets and even lead to arguments. But don’t worry! There are several ways to set limits and prevent this from happening. This guide will explore practical solutions, including using parental controls built into consoles, setting up spending limits on your child’s account, and even using dedicated parental control apps.

Console-Specific Features

Console-Specific Features

Modern consoles like Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch offer built-in parental control features that let you set spending limits and restrict access to certain content. Here’s a breakdown of how to use these features:


On PlayStation consoles, you can set spending limits and control in-game purchases through the Family Management feature. Here’s how:

  1. Create a separate account for your child and link it to your own account as the parent.
  2. Go to the Account Management section on the PlayStation website or app.
  3. Select the child’s account and navigate to the Family Management settings.
  4. Under Spending Limits, you can set daily or weekly limits for purchases made through the PlayStation Store, including in-game purchases.
  5. You can also restrict access to certain games or content by setting age ratings and blocking specific content categories.

PlayStation’s family management system lets you manage your child’s access to games, apps, and online features. You can set limits on the time they spend playing, block inappropriate content, and monitor their online activity.


Xbox consoles feature the Family Settings to manage your children’s online activities, including spending limits. Follow these steps:

  1. Create a child account linked to your adult account.
  2. Go to the Family Settings section on the Xbox website or app.
  3. Select the child’s account and navigate to the Spending tab.
  4. Set daily or weekly spending limits for purchases made on the Xbox Store, including in-game purchases.
  5. You can also choose to block specific content or games based on age ratings.

Xbox Family Settings offer a range of parental controls. You can control the types of games your child can play, manage their online interactions, and set limits on how much time they spend gaming.

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch offers Parental Controls for managing your child’s access to content and online activities. You can set these controls through the Nintendo Account website.

  1. Create a Nintendo Account for your child and link it to your own account.
  2. Go to the Parental Controls section on the Nintendo website.
  3. Select the child’s account and configure the parental controls settings.
  4. You can set daily time limits for playing the Switch and block access to specific games or apps.
  5. There’s also a Spending Limits option, which lets you restrict online purchases through the Nintendo eShop, including in-game purchases.

Nintendo’s Parental Controls allow you to restrict access to specific content, set time limits for playing, and monitor your child’s online activity.

Additional Tips

Remember that these console-specific parental control features are only one part of the picture. It’s essential to talk to your child about responsible gaming and spending habits. You can also use additional tools like website blockers or content filtering software on your home network to further limit your child’s online access.

While free parental control features on consoles can be helpful, for a more comprehensive solution, you may consider a paid parental control app like mSpy. These apps offer advanced features for monitoring and controlling your child’s device activity, including internet browsing, social media usage, and app usage.

Beyond the Console: Third-Party Solutions

Beyond the basic console settings, consider these third-party apps and services to gain more granular control over your child’s game purchases and playtime:

For more robust options, consider these paid solutions:

These third-party services provide various solutions for managing your child’s game purchases and overall online activity. Choose the option that best suits your family’s needs and provides the level of control you desire.

Communicating With Your Kids

Communicating With Your Kids

Open and honest communication is key when it comes to setting limits on in-game purchases. It’s important to start a conversation with your child about their spending habits. Explain to them that while it’s okay to enjoy games, it’s crucial to be responsible with money.

Here are some tips for initiating a conversation about in-game purchases:

Remember, communication is a two-way street. Be sure to listen actively to your child’s concerns and perspectives. By engaging in open and honest communication, you can help your child develop healthy spending habits and avoid getting into trouble with in-game purchases.

Setting limits on game purchases is a crucial step in fostering responsible gaming habits in your children. By establishing clear boundaries, you not only protect your wallet but also teach valuable lessons about financial responsibility and self-control. Remember, gaming can be a source of enjoyment and socialization, but it’s important to ensure that it doesn’t become a financial burden or distract from other important activities.

As you’ve learned in this article, there are various tools and techniques to help you manage in-game spending. Consider implementing these strategies, explore additional resources, and engage in open conversations with your children about responsible gaming practices. By working together, you can create a balanced gaming environment that fosters both fun and financial literacy.