I’m a mom of four children. My eldest is 14, my youngest is 3. Back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth (which was when I was a kid if you ask my kids), many of my happiest memories were in front of a Nintendo console. Whether it was an N64 playing Goldeneye with my brothers, helping my Aunt conquer a level on Super Mario on her SuperNES, or playing Ocarina of Time on my Nintendo Wii, being a gamer is part of who I am.
But, when I grew up, I wasn’t surrounded every day by a screen. So, in an effort to teach my children balance, and that reality actually exists, I decided to write a guide to share how I manage my kids’ gaming, especially over the summer holidays.
Nintendo is not a sponsor, administrator, or co-sponsor of Moola or this article.
4 tips for managing kids gaming
1. Set up a Nintendo Family Account & add your children’s accounts
The internet is a crazy place and as 3 out of 4 of my children are all still quite young, I like to see and know their account settings. This is as much for them as it is for me, as no child is more upset than one who has locked themselves out of their Switch when they wanted to play Fortnite with their friends.
Setting up an account is really easy and it means that they’ll be able to collect their own Nintendo points, but also that you can be notified when they buy something (or subscribe to a Battle Pack on Fortnite…). To learn how to set up your children’s accounts on the Nintendo eShop, see this helpful guide. This is one of the simplest ways you can start managing your kid’s gaming on Nintendo products.
2. Do not ever put your credit card details on your kid’s accounts
This is asking for trouble. I’m pretty sure that Nintendo consoles are thoroughly safe from a cybersecurity standpoint. But, I’m not about to risk my credit history on it. But, I like the peace of mind that comes with knowing that they have a top limit on their purchases. So, they can’t just rack up bills like there’s no tomorrow.
So, I buy Nintendo eShop gift cards from Moola! I save a little more and my kids don’t have a virtually bottomless money pit to access. It’s perfect! Buying eGift cards on Moola is simple:
You can download Moola by tapping this link from your smartphone. Alternatively, you can find it in the app store of your choice by searching “Moola”. You have to be in Canada to download and use it though.
2. Search for Nintendo eShop + purchase the cards
3. Add Nintendo as a favorite for next time
Because you’ll probably find these are relatively frequent purchases, it makes sense to make it easier to save Nintendo as a favorite.
If you’re using Moola for the first time, you’ll be prompted to do this just after buying the card. You can access the favorites screen by tapping the heart in the lower menu.
Loading Nintendo eGift cards from Moola onto your child’s account
- Select the Nintendo eShop icon on the HOME menu on the Switch
- Scroll left and select “Add Funds“
- Select “Redeem a Nintendo eShop Card“
- Open Moola & copy the 16-character activation code from Moola by tapping the copy icon (as circled in the picture below)
- Paste the code into the activation code field on the Nintendo eShop and select OK to complete the transaction.
Voila! Job done!
3. Buy a Google Nest if you’re working from home
Managing your internet usage is easy with internet managers like Google Nest. You can use it to manage screen time and to some extent game usage. But, more importantly, you can set priority devices (like your work laptop), to make sure the kid’s games don’t interfere with your Zoom calls.
4. Controlling in-game purchases and spend on games
This is one thing I’m sure my parents are grateful for never having to deal with. In-game spend is a challenge because it’s just a money pit. I try hard to teach my kids good money habits. But, it’s hard when there is no pain (for them) and only gain (as they see it) when it comes to gaming.
As I mentioned above, using gift cards allows me to ensure they can’t actually spend money they don’t have. But, as I have been getting notified of their in-game purchases, I decided to implement a “Game Tax” system.
My “Game Tax” system
As part of teaching them good money habits, I decided to make them have to think pretty hard about pressing that really easy “Purchase” button to buy a new game.
Because I don’t store my credit card details in their consoles, my kids have to ask me to subscribe to a service or buy an in-app pack (like Fortnite V-Bucks). However, I tax them 4 times the ticket price.
So, if the in-app purchase is $10 (as is the case for 1000 V-Bucks), then I deduct $40 from my kid’s pocket money.
This always gets them to stop and think about how much they actually want their purchase.
Great games for tweenagers on the Nintendo eShop