Information for Parents

What Can I Block With Parental Controls?


The system's Parental Controls can restrict the following features or settings:

  • Software Rating – Restrict the use of Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DSi software based on Classification board ratings.
  • Internet Browser – Restrict the use of the Internet browser.
  • Nintendo 3DS Shopping Services – Restrict the use of credit cards, prepaid cards, and online content purchased in the Nintendo eShop.
  • Display of 3D Images – Make all images display in 2D only.
  • Sharing Images/Audio/Video – Restrict the wireless transmission of photos, sounds, animations, and data.
  • Online Interaction - Restrict the exchange of data between users who are not friends and the ability to participate in online play via the Internet. This restriction does not work with Nintendo DS software.
  • StreetPass – Restrict communication with other users of StreetPass. This feature is not available on Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi software.
  • Friend Registration – Restrict the registration of friends.
  • DS Download Play – Restrict the use of DS Download Play.

How to Set Up Parental Controls


Step by step instructions on how to Setup the Parental Controls for the Nintendo 3DS system.

What to do:

  1. Select the System Settings icon on the HOME Menu, and tap "Open."
  2. Select Parental Controls from the System Settings menu and tap "Yes."
  3. Enter the four-digit PIN, and tap "OK."
  4. Enter the PIN a second time and tap "OK."
  5. Select a secret question and tap "OK."
  6. Enter the answer and tap "OK."
  7. Tap "Set Restrictions."
  8. When restrictions are complete, tap "Done" to save the settings.

How to Change Parental Controls


Step by step instructions on how to change the Parental Controls for the Nintendo 3DS system.

What to do:

  1. Select the System Settings icon on the HOME Menu, and tap "Open."
  2. Select Parental Controls from the System Settings menu.
  3. Tap "Change."
    • If Parental Controls have not been previously set up, the initial settings will need to be entered. (How to)
  4. Enter the four-digit PIN, and tap "OK."
  5. Select "Set Restrictions."
  6. Select the category to change restrictions.
  7. When changes are complete, tap "Done" to save the settings.

How to Reset Parental Controls


Step by step instructions on how to reset Nintendo 3DS Parental Controls

What to do:

  1. Select the System Settings icon from the HOME Menu, and tap "Open."
  2. Tap "Parental Controls."
  3. Tap "Change."
  4. Input the PIN that was created during the initial set-up and tap "OK."
  5. Tap "Clear Settings."
  6. Tap "Delete."

Software Rating Information


Once a game had been reviewed by the ESRB, it is assigned a rating and, at times, one or more content descriptors. These are designed to provide information on the type of content the game contains, and what age level the content is appropriate for. A game's rating is found on the front of the game's packaging, and game content descriptors, where applicable, are found on the back.

The ratings a game can receive are:

  • EC (Early Childhood) - may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.
  • E (Everyone) - may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
  • E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) - may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language, and/or minimal suggestive themes.
  • T (Teen) - may be suitable for persons ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.
  • M (Mature) - may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and/or strong language.
  • AO (Adults Only) - should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.* *Please note that Nintendo does not sell or license games that carry the ESRB rating "AO" (Adults Only).

How Do I Restrict What Games my Child Can Play?


All games are reviewed and rated for content by the Classification Board. Parental Controls can block the use of Nintendo 3DS Games, Downloaded Games, and DSiWare based on those ratings.

How Do I Restrict My Child From Accessing the Internet?


Using parental controls, the following online features can be blocked:

  • Access to the Internet
  • Access to online content
  • Online interactions

There is no way to control where they can go if access is granted to a feature.

Educating your children on privacy concerns

It is important for all parents to educate their children on the dangers of sharing personal information about themselves with strangers when using any online device, including the Nintendo 3DS system. We suggest that you talk with your children about online safety and make sure they know not to use personally identifiable information such as their name, age, email address, home address, phone number or birth date when creating their profile, their user name, or for any other services offered through the Nintendo 3DS.

The Nintendo 3DS comes with optional Parental Controls to help parents take steps to protect their children on the Nintendo 3DS. The parental controls on the Nintendo 3DS give parents the ability to decide what information their children can share with other people. For example, you can choose to enable Parental Controls to block some of the Nintendo 3DS features, such as the ability to exchange photos with other Nintendo 3DS systems.

Whether or not you choose to enable Parental Controls, we highly recommend that you speak with your children about protecting their privacy on the Nintendo 3DS.

Parental Supervision

You should supervise your children’s use of the Nintendo 3DS at all times and assist them with the setup of the system.

Watch what games and applications your children are interacting with and talk with them about online safety and protecting their privacy from strangers with them and others as often as possible. You can never have too much knowledge about the games your children are playing.

If at any time you want to stop your children's use of online or interactive features of the system, you can restrict access using the Parental Controls setting (How to). Consider your child's unique personality, level of maturity and abilities when talking to them about their online safety and privacy. Every child is different, and parents should use their judgment in deciding which games and applications of the system are appropriate for their children.

How Do I Protect My Child From Unwelcome Content From Strangers?


The Nintendo 3DS has multiple ways of sharing information with others, including online multiplayer, DS Download Play, and more.

  • This data exchange can be blocked by parental controls
  • This data exchange can be turned off/managed for each application

Internet vs. Wireless - Defining the Difference

The Nintendo 3DS can communicate with other systems in two ways: over the Internet and over a local wireless connection. The system cannot access the Internet unless you take active steps to connect to it. However, the Nintendo 3DS does come pre-installed with other wireless communication features such as StreetPass, which allows you to wirelessly exchange data with other Nintendo 3DS systems within range.

Internet Access - The Nintendo 3DS allows you to connect online to play compatible games with other users from all over the world as well as download games and applications from the Nintendo eShop. The system does not currently come pre-installed with an Internet browser allowing you to view Web pages. However, the Internet Browser is scheduled to be available for download on the evening of June 6 Pacific time.

Wireless Communication - With the Nintendo 3DS system’s wireless capabilities, you can communicate with up to 15 other Nintendo DS systems within range of your system. This feature can be used by different games and applications to share data between users, such as sharing photos with the Nintendo 3DS Camera application, or to play multiplayer games over a local wireless connection. Here are a few things to keep in mind when using these wireless features:

  • The wireless switch must be set to the "On" position.
  • You must choose to activate each wireless feature for it to work. However, the StreetPass Mii Plaza wireless function is already activated out of the box.

For information on how a specific game uses wireless communication, please refer to the instruction booklet for that game. Parental Controls: You can block the sharing of photos and user-generated content (How To).

Online Gaming

With the Nintendo 3DS and an online compatible game, players can connect with other gamers all over the world.

Important Details for Online Gaming:

To protect your children’s privacy, make sure they know not to give out personally identifiable information such as their first and last name, phone number, birth date, age, email address, or home address when communicating with others.

With online games, you can play against anyone in the world, which usually means you are playing against people you do not know. Online gaming can be fun, but it opens you up to potentially inappropriate user-created content (such as user names, game levels, in-game chats, etc.).

We recommend that parents encourage their children to use the Friend List feature for Nintendo 3DS games, and Friend Codes for older Nintendo DS games to ensure that they only play online with people they know and trust. Using the Friend List and Friend Codes allows children to limit who they play with for a safer online gaming experience.

Please note that if you or your child decide to provide personally identifiable information to any third party (such as a game publisher) it is subject to the privacy policy of that company, not Nintendo's privacy practices. Make sure your children are cautious before providing any personally identifiable information to any third party.

Multiplayer Gaming (wireless, not online)

With the Nintendo 3DS, gamers can link to other players for multiplayer action, all without the use of cables. In fact, some titles are designed so that only one player needs a game in their system - everyone else simply downloads it from player one. If you are concerned about your children seeing user-created content through such games (such as user created levels or artwork) you can restrict your child's access to this game by setting the Parent Controls on the Nintendo 3DS to restrict access to user-created content.

Sharing Photos

The Nintendo 3DS allows you to share photos in two ways: over a local wireless connection with other Nintendo 3DS owners or by saving the photos to an SD Card. The Nintendo 3DS cannot display images created on other devices (such as cell phones or digital cameras). Only photos created with the Nintendo 3DS Camera can be used on the system.

Nintendo 3DS Camera

The Nintendo 3DS system comes with an interactive digital camera offering 7 different "lenses" that can manipulate your photos in fun and creative ways, as well as manual settings that allow you to take more control over the look of your images. In addition to being saved directly on the system, these photos can also be saved to an SD Card. Whether the photos are on the system or an SD Card, they can only be shared wirelessly with other Nintendo 3DS owners. Parental Controls: You can block the ability to wirelessly exchange photos with others (How To).

SD Cards

You can save photos to an SD Card and transfer them to another Nintendo 3DS. You can also use your SD Card on any other device that can read images from an SD Card, such as a home computer. There they can be edited and uploaded to the Internet or printed without the permission of the photo's creator.

Printing Photos

You cannot print images directly from a Nintendo 3DS, but once saved to an SD Card, the photos can be printed from another device that reads SD Card images (such as a home computer) and is attached to a printer.

Safeguard Your Personal Info When Selling Your System

For your protection, prior to selling or transferring your or your child's Nintendo 3DS, please be sure to clean and securely remove all personally-identifiable information, including any pictures and all other stored sensitive information, from the system.

What Is StreetPass?


Nintendo 3DS brings players together in an new way with the StreetPass feature.

While in Sleep Mode, the Nintendo 3DS system can automatically search for and communicate with Nintendo 3DS systems to exchange compatible game data like Mii characters, high scores, and custom characters, using local wireless. StreetPass must be activated before any data is exchanged.

The data transmitted with StreetPass varies depending on the software using this feature. So, be sure to check the software manual for specifics on what data the game or application exchanges.

Up to 12 applications can be activated to use StreetPass simultaneously. Each StreetPass compatible software program has its own StreetPass settings that can be deactivated individually. In addition, Parental Controls can restrict StreetPass activity, or all data exchange can be prevented by disabling wireless communication.

When data is received, a message appears on the notification list and the Notification LED blinks green.

StreetPass is only compatible with Nintendo 3DS software.

To get you started with this feature, the Nintendo 3DS comes with StreetPass Mii Plaza. StreetPass Mii Plaza lets players exchange custom made Mii characters. 

How Is StreetPass Activated?


To activate StreetPass, three things need to happen:

  • The Wireless Switch must be in the "On" position
  • The game or application must include StreetPass as a feature
  • The StreetPass feature must be turned on in the game or application

There are two applications that use StreetPass that are included with the system: StreetPass Mii Plaza and Nintendo 3DS Sound.

Received an Inappropriate Mii


There is an offensive Mii character in the StreetPass Mii Plaza

What to do:

  1. From the HOME Menu select StreetPass Mii Plaza, and tap "Open."
  2. Using the Circle Pad or Directional Pad, select the Offensive Mii and press the A button.
  3. Select "Delete" and press the A button.
  4. Select "Delete" again and press the A button.
  5. Select "Delete" a final time, and press the A button.
  6. Select "Block" to prevent that user from being able to send further Mii characters.
  • If "Don't Block" is selected future Mii characters from that creator may show up on your system via StreetPass Mii Plaza.

How to Block Someone From Sending a Mii


Step by step instructions on how to block all Mii characters from a specific user.

Important Note!

  • Mii Characters received from another user are deleted when they are blocked.
  • The system does not display the blocked-user list.
  • You cannot remove individual users from the blocked-user list. The entire list will need to be erased if you want to unblock someone.

What to do:

  1. Select the Mii Maker icon on the HOME Menu, and tap "Open."
  2. Press and hold the X button and Y button while holding left on the + Control Pad.
  3. Tap "Manage."
  4. Select the Mii character whose creator will be blocked, and tap "OK."
  5. Tap "Yes" and then "OK" to return to the Mii Maker main menu.

Note: Parental Controls may also be set to restrict the use of the StreetPass feature

What Kind Of Data Do You Exchange With StreetPass Mii Plaza?


When exchanging StreetPass Mii Plaza data with another user, the following data is shared:

  • Country, region
  • "Dog Lover" or "Cat Lover"
  • Hobby (selected from pre-selected list)
  • Dream (selected from pre-selected list)
  • Mii information (name, face, gender, color, height, weight, birthday, and etc...)
  • Mii character's birthday (if it has been set with Mii)
  • Creator (if open to public is chosen)
  • Last played software
  • Personalized greeting (Filtered through a profanity filter)

How to Stop All StreetPass Notifications


Information on how to stop all StreetPass Notification.


  1. Select the System Settings icon on the HOME Menu, and tap "Open."
  2. Select Parental Controls, and tap "Change."
  3. Input the PIN that was created during the initial set-up and tap "OK."
    • If Parental Controls have not been previously set up, the initial settings will need to be entered. (How to)
  4. Tap "Set Restrictions" and then select "StreetPass."
  5. Tap "Restrict" and then "OK."
  6. Tap "Done" and then "Back" to save the changes and exit Parental Controls.