Playstation 4 Puts all Kids at Risk

Mar 19, 2014

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Sony’s newest video game console, the Playstation 4, has been a major success selling over 4 million consoles since its release in November 2014. Chances are that you’ve heard of or even own a Playstation 4; however, you might be a little surprised by what kind of content the Playstatyion 4 can access.

Last week, Sony was blasted with harsh criticism after a Russian couple broadcasted a live 20 minute video stream of them having sex on their living room couch. They were able to stream their racy content by using a “video share” feature on their Playstation 4 called Playroom.

Playroom was originally meant to allow gamers to chat via webcam and share videos of themselves playing virtual reality video games in their living room. The feature was intended to bring gamers together and give them a fun social environment to play in; nonetheless, there is one very apparent problem being that anything goes in these virtual encounters.

Playroom does not include a filter for unsuitable content, and that is no fault on Sony’s side. It would be near impossible to scan millions of live streams and decide what content is suitable for children’s eyes and what is not. Parental controls were added to the Playstation 4 to try to give parents more control over their child’s gaming activities, but it doesn't have the capacity to determine what children are watching by live stream.

The parental controls on the Playstation are so weak that even Consumer Reports labeled the new console as “putting your kids at risk.” Most of these risks come from the live streaming function of Playroom that comes pre-loaded on every Playstation 4. Sony has responded by creating a webpage that provides instructions for blocking all live streams and user-generated content, but Consumer Reports state that “the process has excessive steps and is very unclear.”

If you own a Playstation 4 and are confused by Sony’s instructions to block live streams, Consumer reports has created its own step-by-step guide to help parents block all streaming services to their child’s Playstation 4. Even with a block on video streaming, it’s always good to be aware of what your child is playing and streaming.  Ask them about the games they are currently playing and even offer to play a game with them. Who knows, you may enjoy monitoring your child’s Playstation 4 more than you think.