While the 3DS' parental controls help you lock down most of the features on the 3DS, some have a few more layers of nuance it's worth parents looking into. One such feature is StreetPass, a handy little application which will automatically wirelessly exchange information with other 3DS players while you're out and about, sending your Mii avatar to their 3DS, and downloading their Mii to yours, along with some game-related data. From lap times on Mario Kart to interior designs on Animal Crossing, any information gets shared automatically, meaning there's almost always something new to look at when you open your 3DS after a day out and about.
One of the main parts of the StreetPass system is the StreetPass Mii Plaza, where the Mii avatars you StreetPass while out and about get stored. Every time you load it up, you'll have a short line of Miis who'll give you a wave, tell you their Mii name (you're strongly advised not to use your real name when making a Mii), and pop up with a short greeting message, with the option to set a customised, personal greeting if you've encountered them multiple times. It's all very cute and harmless fun, especially when meeting friends or family members via StreetPass.
In this day and age though, it's possible that less than savoury characters out there could use this anonymous data exchange to send inappropriate messages, or even bully children who regularly StreetPass the same people at school, anonymously. It's something that must be on Nintendo's radar, following the restriction of their hand-written note application Nintendo Letterbox, which was stripped of the ability to send personal messages or photos due to people abusing the system by transferring unsuitable content.
Thankfully, though, Nintendo have included a system for blocking and deleting offensive messages and Miis - although they're the sort of options that could go unnoticed.
We should probably point out that we've never experienced anyone using StreetPass to send offensive messages or otherwise abuse the system, but nevertheless, if you want to block someone through the 3DS StreetPass Plaza, here's what you do:
How to block someone from 3DS StreetPass
When you "meet" a Mii for the first time, you'll exchange your default message. If you've already met them before, you'll have the option to write a personal greeting to send them next the next time you meet - and it's here the potentially unsuitable content could come into play. While most greetings StreetPassers use are variations on 'hello' or film quotes, if you do encounter Miis that are bringing nasty messages along with them, you can choose to skip the exchange of greetings entirely - although this will affect everyone, not just the bad eggs.
By going to the Plaza's settings menu (which is a picture of a toolbox), and turning "Skip Greetings" to "On", you'll still be able to meet that Mii and use them in the StreetPass minigames - you just won't see their greeting or any personal messages.
Choosing to disable greetings is a handy way to make StreetPass that much more family friendly, without having to disable access to the program altogether. Sometimes, blocking access to applications like this can be cutting off your nose to spite your face, as you end up losing out on access to the built-in and downloadable StreetPass games, as well as bonuses for retail titles.
If you've got someone's Mii on your system that you'd really rather wasn't there, (after all there are some pretty, er, creative Mii makers out there) then deleting them is also an option. All you have to do is select them in the Mii Plaza, and in the menu that appears there'll be an option to delete them then and there. If you want to block that Mii permanently, though, along with any others made by the same user, you'll need to take a further step.
First, move the Mii into your 3DS' Mii Maker using the option in the same menu as before, then quit StreetPass and head over to the Mii Maker app. Once there, you can highlight the problematic Mii, and by holding left on the +control pad and pressing X and Y simultaneously you'll be given the option to add that Mii (and any others made by the same person) to a blocked list, preventing them from appearing to your child's system in the future.
We're big fans of StreetPass here at Everybody Plays, due in part to its accessibility for children. It's a simple, fun and innocuous introduction to sharing information online, and only the baddest of bad apples would use it in an inappropriate way. While it is true that, for the most part, when you meet people through StreetPass you never know who they are, it's also a generally friendly place. It's exciting, too, as you could "meet" people from foreign countries or even "celebrity" Miis (Sarah still reminds us of the day she StreetPassed Sonic creator, Yuji Naka, and got his Nintendog) - but of course, it's always going to be entirely possible you might run in to someone who just wants to be unpleasant. And now, you know how to block them.
For more info on StreetPass, check out Nintendo's StreetPass Hub. Now all we need is some new Puzzle Swap panels…