My NETFLIX notes for parents
We are a no cable family. I don’t even know the last time I lived in a house that had cable. We are not die hard sports fans either, so it’s an easy choice to not pay an outrageous price for the hundreds of channels we won’t watch. The new trend of going “cable free” uses the internet to access steaming services like Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and Amazon Prime Video. We primarily use iTunes through the Apple TV and the others through our Xbox. We recently cut Hulu out of our line up, but use the other 3 to watch shows or rent movies.
Netflix is the main one my children (6 and younger) use. This is because they have a nice set up for creating separate profiles and limiting content you don’t want your little ones to see. They have 2 ways to set up parental controls, Profile-level and Account-level. The Profile-level controls let you set up separate profiles with restrictions as to what level of rating you want viewed specific on that profile. Account-level is setting a PIN that spans all profiles and has to be entered to access above a certain level of rating. Really its pretty simple and straight forward. Here’s the full instructions to set up either of those options. Or straight from Netflix Help Center here.
Now, of course, this is not a fool proof way to let your kids wander without supervision, I still check up on them. They could easily get on an adults profile and see the auto playing previews for a movie or TV show. And just the other day my kids’ profile somehow was changed to All Maturity Access! I did not appreciate them having access to Pulp Fiction. I’m not sure how it was changed. But there are ways to change this setting in the app on a phone, Xbox, Apple TV or whatever you use (see my FYI notes below). I did notice a few new features of Netflix, so maybe it was in the change on their end or very possibly user error.
For our kids’ profile I have the “Kids” box checked and the Little Kid option selected. This restricts to only allowing G, TV-G and TV-Y rated shows. The other option under the “Kids” umbrella is Older Kids and below. That option adds shows for 12 and under as well, which is essentially everything under little kids plus PG, TV-PG and TV-Y. Recently I’ve found quite a few titles that are above the PG rating in this selection (PG-13 and TV-14), so I’ve decided to stick with the Little Kid option, even if it means they don’t have access to all those new PG Disney and DreamWorks movies Netflix recently added. I was not happy about this. I was under the assumption that Older Kids “suitable for 12 and under” would not show movies and TV shows rated PG-13 or TV-14! Isn’t that the point of a rating system? At least that’s what makes sense to me.
When I found these higher rated shows I initially thought maybe they were showing because of a lag in the system since I had just changed my settings. They tell you to log out and back in again to reset your setting and you may have to wait 8 hours for it to be in full effect. I did both of these and still found tons of shows and movies above the PG rating in this category. Well, digging a bit on Netflix site they state:
Netflix gathers maturity ratings based on country and region. The ratings are set by a standards organization that determines whether or not the material is appropriate for children. If a TV show, movie, or other piece of content has not been rated by a known standards organization, Netflix will use its reasonable judgment to determine whether or not the material is appropriate, and assign a “Kids OK,” “Netflix Guidance (G),” or “Adult” rating. To see their full statement click here or from Netflix Help Center here.
MY FYI NOTES:
The Pin will prevent any users, without the code, from viewing the entire movie, but the thumbnail and the preview will still be seen.
I noticed, poking around, I can edit a profile’s parental controls from the Netflix app on my IPhone and the Xbox (Apple TV did not have this option). It only allows me to turn on or off the KIDS setting. Tuning it off automatically changes the restrictions to view ALL MATURITY! Turning it on automatically changes it to the “Older Kids” option under the KIDS section. Which, again, I found 7 or more PG-13 and TV-14 titles available to watch from the main menu. There were many more available through the search feature.