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PS4 parental controls don't block some content, Consumer Reports says

Consumer Reports says you could be surprised by what the Sony PlayStation 4's parental controls allow.
March 17, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Sony PlayStation 4 is one of the hottest-selling gaming systems. Its parental controls can restrict content that you might not want your children to see, such as violent games or adult content.

But Consumer Reports says you could be surprised by what the PS4's parental controls allow.

PlayStation 4's NBA game is a favorite among these teens. But some PS4 games are strictly off-limits.

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," said Carol Mangis with Consumer Reports.

Also potentially disturbing is the Playroom, which comes pre-loaded on the PS4. Users who own the PS4'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. But 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 PS4, here are step-by-step instructions on how to block live-stream content, including the Playroom.


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