Consumer Reports: Weak parental controls on Sony PlayStation 4

Do you know everything your kids are seeing on the Sony PlayStation 4?

The PS4’s parental controls can restrict content that you might not want your children to see, like violent or adult games. But our partners at Consumer Reports say you may be surprised by what the parental controls do allow.

The PS4 lets gamers view and participate in live streams of any game they’re playing, including adult or mature-rated games.

According to Consumer Reports, even if you ramp up the console's parental controls and turn off Internet access, the live-streamed broadcasts are viewable to anyone.

In November, reports raised concerns about PS4’s Playroom – an augmented-reality game that comes pre-loaded on the console.

Playroom uses the PS4 Eye camera accessory to superimpose virtual objects on video that you capture of your own living room. Consumer Reports says users have been using Playroom to capture some pretty racy content – including nudity and foul language – then distributing it via Sony's PS4 Live app. Those streams are also available to view even if your parental controls are cranked up to the maximum limit.

Sony’s website provides instructions for blocking the live stream and user-generated content. The process involves setting up what Sony calls a sub-account for your child. Consumer Reports experts say the process has multiple steps and isn’t very clear or intuitive.

If you have a PlayStation 4, Consumer Reports has step-by-step instructions to block live-stream content, including The Playroom.

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