Netflix has some great content for kids but leaves many parents frustrated with controlling what kids watch and for how long. While Netflix is certainly lacking in that regard. Here are 3 things every parent with Netflix should do to keep Netflix safe for their kids.
1. Setup A Kids Profile
First you should have a Kids profile with appropriately limited content. Netflix actually makes this quite easy. In fact, you may already have this by default! What you might not know is that you can further limit the content available in your Kids profile. Here’s how…
In the upper right hand corner click on your profile icon and then “Manage Profiles”:
If you don’t already have a kids profile, create one by clicking the plus sign. Now you can click the pencil to update the profile:
On the next screen you can do a couple of things. First make sure that Kids is checked, this will change the way the profile looks and limit the content to things rated PG.
Second (and this is the part you may have missed!) if you have toddlers watching you should click the “Allowed TV shows and movies” and make sure “For Little Kids only” is selected. This will further limit the titles to those rated G.
Click on Save to make your changes permanent. Now when your kids open Netflix and choose their profile they will be limited to only the titles rated for children.
2. Setup a PIN
Next you should require a PIN in order to watch teen or adult content. This is a great way to lock down content that you really don’t want your kids to view.
To setup a PIN, click the profile icon in the upper right corner of the screen and select “Your Account”:
Next click on Parental Controls:
You will be prompted to enter your account password to proceed. When you see the screen below you can pick a 4 digit PIN and click on the level of access at which you want to require a PIN.
Now when anyone on your account attempts to watch a program rated for teens or above they will be be required to enter a PIN as shown below:
3. Disable Auto-Play
Lastly all parents should disable Auto-Play to discourage binge watching of TV series by children. Go back to your My Account page and click on Playback Settings as shown below:
Simply uncheck the “Play next episode automatically”:
Now the next episode in a TV series won’t start playing automatically. It’s not totally childproof because your kids can always manually start the next episode. But at least it’s not automatic!
Unfortunately this setting is applied to the entire account which means all TV shows will be a bit tougher to binge watch. Sorry, House of Cards fans!
Want More Control?
While these parental controls are a good start there are a few limitations. First, we know that kids are crafty and can circumnavigate the menus to find the stuff that is really good. My 3 year old has a knack for finding age inappropriate cover images of explosions or battles. Inevitably, our own battle ensues as my wife and I say “No!”.
So, if you’d like more control over what your kids watch and for how long take a look at Flix for Kids. It is a fully featured Netflix viewer that makes it really easy for parents to control what their kids can watch and for how long. In addition to the full Netflix children’s content and search features parents can:
- Pick exactly the content that shows up
- Set a countdown timer that stops playback
- Block specific shows from showing up in searches
- View the elapsed viewing time for the day
At the moment it is available as a desktop application for Windows and Mac. Visit Flix for Kids for more info.