A quick trick allows a PlayStation or Xbox to become something more like a traditional PC – and people are sharing the fix as a way of getting around issues with getting online under the latest lockdown.

With the announcement that schools will be shutting, parents, teachers and children have been forced to scramble to find a way to ensure that all pupils will be able to access the online teaching that will be hosted instead.

The lockdown has brought attention to the fact that many households do not have the resources to get online, especially given that many parents are being forced to work online from home at the same time.

It has led to pressure on the government to ensure they can provide hardware to anyone who might need it, as well as internet companies offering free or cheaper data to ensure that children are able to get online, too.

But the latest trick could allow some parents to get around those issues, by turning the PlayStation or Xbox in their house into a way of getting onto the internet. It could be a valuable workaround for anyone who might have such a console but is short of other, more traditional ways of getting online.

The trick works because all recent PlayStations and Xbox have just about everything required to act like a computer: an internet connection, ports for connecting keyboards and mice, and even web browsers.

It’s that latter piece of software that might not be quite so obvious, since it is buried in menus behind a lot of options that are usually more exciting, like games. But it is simple enough to find.

 It’s that latter piece of software that might not be quite so obvious, since it is buried in menus behind a lot of options that are usually more exciting, like games.But it is simple enough to find.

Likewise, on the PlayStation, go to the library and look for the applications option. In there soul die the web browser: it is not quite as obviously named as the one on the Xbox, but it is the “www” icon.

Once that is opened, you should be able to use it like any other internet browser. That includes navigating to online learning resources, or communications tools like Teams.

The browser on both consoles can be used like any other menu or game: navigated around by using the joystick, clicking links with the A button, and typing in text by using the on-screen keyboard.

But they become much more useful when a keyboard or mouse is plugged into the console, at which point they’re almost indistinguishable from any other computer. Recent PlayStations and Xboxes both have USB ports that should be able to take any keyboard that would plug into a more traditional computer, or can be bought relatively cheaply.

On both consoles, you should also be able to use a headset to chat, too. That can be plugged in through the controller, which includes a port at the bottom.