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Protect your children: How to set parental controls on the PS3, PSP

A short guide to setting up your PS3 or PSP to only let your child play acceptable games.

The Playstation 3 has many great games. Unfortunately, the majority of those games are violent, bloody, and utterly inappropriate for children. Fortunately, the PS3 has a parental control system that lets you make certain your kids can play Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga and Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, but won't be able to load the ultraviolent Ninja Gaiden Sigma or The Darkness. The Playstation Portable contains a similar control system, so this handy guide can help you watch what your children are playing, both at home and on the go.

Please note: Unlike the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, the PS3 and PSP don't use the Entertainment Software Ratings Board's rating system. Instead they use a series of numbered levels ranging from 1 for only the most acceptable titles to 11 for almost all games. Level 5 approximately corresponds with T-rated games, though parents should experiment with the different levels to determine which level is most appropriate for their family.

Step 1: Start your PS3 and enter the main menu.

Step 2: Scroll left and enter the "Settings" menu.

Step 3: Scroll down and enter the "Security Settings" menu.

Step 4: Scroll down and select "Parental Control."

Step 5: Enter the PS3 password to access parental controls. By default, the PS3 password is "0000."

Step 5: Enter the preferred parental control level you would like to use. To only play T-rated games and below, use level 5 or above. To only play E or E10 games, use lower levels.

Step 6: Back in the "Security Settings" menu, scroll up and select "Change Password."

Step 7: Enter the system's password (default "0000").

Step 8: Enter a new password. Use a 4-digit number that you will remember, but that your children won't be able to guess.

Step 9: Enter the new password again to confirm it.

Step 9: Select "Yes" to confirm the password change. Your PS3 will now only play games at your preferred parental control level. To play a higher-rated title, you must enter your password.