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Consumer News

Consumer Reports: PS4’s Parental Controls May Allow More Than You Think

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Source: KDKA-TV) Susan Koeppen
A nationally known, award-winning journalist, Susan Koeppen co-anc...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Sony Playstation 4 is one of the hottest-selling video gaming systems.

Its parental controls can restrict content that you might not want your children to see, like violent games or adult content.

However, you might be surprised by what the PS4’s parental controls do allow.

PlayStation 4’s NBA game is a favorite among some teens.

However, some PlayStation 4 games are strictly off-limits.

“Well, I make sure that they’re really playing games that I think are not too violent,” Fogarty Foote said.

You can block kids from playing those games with the parental controls.

But in Consumer Reports labs, testers discovered there is other content you can’t easily restrict.

“The Playstation 4 lets gamers stream live streams of any game they’re playing, including adult games or mature-rated games. Kids can view these live streams, and they can comment on them and view other people’s comments, even if you have parental controls on,” Consumer Reports’ Carol Mangis said.

Another potentially disturbing aspect is The Playroom.

It comes pre-loaded on the PS4.

Users who own the PlayStation 4’s camera can use it to capture video in their own living rooms and share it across the PlayStation Network.

“Anything goes. And those streams are also available to view, even if your parental controls are cranked up to the maximum limit,” Mangis said.

You may feel safe if you’ve disabled the Internet browser in parental controls.

However, testers found that didn’t block the live-streamed video either.

Sony’s website does provide instructions for blocking the live stream or user-generated content.

“It involves setting up what Sony calls a ‘sub-account’ for your child. And we found that it wasn’t a very intuitive process,” Mangis said.

Consumer Reports says there are multiple steps, and it isn’t very clear.

If you have a PlayStation 4, you can find step-by-step instructions on how to block live-stream content, including The Playroom here: http://www.ConsumerReports.org/cro/news/2014/01/how-to-block-live-gameplay-streams-on-the-ps4/index.htm

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