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What are the Safest Gaming Consoles for Kids?

Allison Scovell  |  January 18, 2024

Video games are an undeniably entertaining pastime, not just for kids but for all ages! It’s no wonder why tons of family game nights now look something like a Mario Kart tournament or a Minecraft building session.

The trouble with all these games is that there can be some that are not meant for all ages. Or the appropriate ones are created to be addicting and kids find it difficult to manage their game time on their own. So the question becomes:  Are there any safe gaming consoles where kids can play with the necessary boundaries? 

We took a deep dive into that exact question and came up with the top 5 safest gaming consoles for kids! This review will focus mostly on the level of parental controls you can expect from each console. Let’s jump in! 

Nintendo Switch 

Taking the number one spot for best gaming console for kids is — hands down — the Nintendo Switch. The Switch has parental controls that no other console seems to match. And not only that, it has all the popular games kids actually want to play like Super Mario Bros, Animal Crossing, Minecraft, and more. All the while, parents can have peace of mind that their child’s gameplay will be uninterrupted by chats from strangers or inappropriate internet searches. Parents can also set play time limits, customize their child’s communication settings, and do all of this straight from their smartphone with the Nintendo Parental Controls app.

Xbox Series S

Geared towards the 13+ crowd, the Xbox Series S is a great option for kids as they get a little older and expand their gaming world. Xbox uses Microsoft Family Safety, an app that parents can add to their gaming console to apply a selection of helpful parental control features. You can put restrictions on content, messaging, and privacy. And for the cherry on top — you can password-protect your settings with a PIN code! This means kids won’t be able to go behind you and change any of the parental controls. 

Razer Kishi V2 

If your kid is an avid mobile gamer, this on-the-go console is the perfect way to step up their gaming experience. The console comes with pieces that you can fit on either side of your smartphone, effectively turning it into a game controller. To use the Razer Kishi, you have three options: play games downloaded on your smartphone, play games from the cloud (stream the game, as opposed to is being downloaded), or connect it to a PC or other game console and play games from there. 

The best part about the Razer Kishi is that it doesn’t have to have its own parental controls — as long as you already have parental controls set up on the device it connects to, you’re all set! Pro tip: Looking for the best option for a safer kid's phone? Check out the Bark Phone which has all of Bark’s powerful parental controls built right in.

PlayStation 4 

Another popular option is the PlayStation 4 that — when using the available parental controls — can make your teen's game time both fun and safer. It has many of the features we’ve already seen from other consoles such as restricting internet access, choosing age-appropriate content, restricting communication with other players, and creating a settings passcode. One thing the PS4 has that may excite some parents is that you set a monthly spending limit — so no more surprise discoveries of too many game purchases on the credit card bill! 

Nintendo Super NES Classic Edition 

Now hear us out — what can be safer than a retro gaming console with no internet and pre-loaded games? On the parental control side of things, there’s technically none with this console. But it’s hardly needed when there’s no secret games or internet for kids to access. It only comes with 21 games that are mostly family-friendly (parents may want to know that it comes with Street Fighter II and Earthbound, which are rated “T” for teens due to a higher level of violence). 

If you grew up playing Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, or Kirby Dream Course, we promise this console will give you fond nostalgic feelings, while giving your kids a unique gaming experience. 

Bark Home: Your Video Game Sidekick 

It’s great when gaming consoles and other technology come with their own parental controls, but it can be easy to lose track of how each device needs to be set up. Luckily, parents can use the Bark Home as their trusty screen time sidekick! The Bark Home allows you to manage all of the internet-connected devices in your home and set custom screen time rules for each one depending on what kid is using it, what time of day it is, and what it’s being used for. With the tap of a button on your phone, you can block the internet to the PS4 during homework time and only allow the shared family laptop to have internet. Then once homework’s done, simply switch rules! Order the Bark Home for your family today.

Bark helps families manage and protect their children’s digital lives.

mother and daughter discussing Bark Parental Controls