Netflix: keeping your kids from mature content

Most people who use Netflix know what a great selection of content it offers – for all ages. Whether your toddler loves it for Peppa Pig,  or your tween enjoys Fuller House, or you just want to binge-watch Orange is the New Black, Netflix has something for just about everyone.

But how do you ensure that the kids in your family don’t access content that isn’t suitable for them?   While nothing is as fool proof as watching Netflix alongside your kids, we realize this may not always be possible, and fortunately, there are some other options to help keep your kids safe.

Set profile level controls

As an account holder, you can set up profiles for you and your family members. In our household, we have one for myself and my husband, and another for our kids.  For children, you can use the standard ‘kids’ profile – which provides access to content Netflix believes is appropriate for those 12 and under.  To learn more about how Netflix rates their content in terms of maturity level, click here. If you want to further edit or customize the access provided, you can create and edit profiles from your Netflix Account page (Account > Manage Profiles > Allowed TV shows and Movies). Here you can specify what level of content profiles will have access to (for little kids, for older kids and below, for teens and below, or all maturity levels). A few things to keep in mind when using profile level controls:

  • When you adjust these settings, there can be a delay of up to 8 hours before they take effect on your devices.
  • When your kids turn on Netflix they may be presented with the option of selecting a profile – and if they don’t click on theirs and instead use a profile belonging to an adult in their family, they may (inadvertently) gain access to mature content.
  • Kids can still see the full range of available content – however they will not be able to watch content that is beyond the maturity level they are allowed to watch

Use a PIN

For extra peace of mind, consider setting up a 4 digit PIN that users must enter, in order to access content deemed to be above a specific maturity level (little kids, older kids, teens, adults).   PINs can be set up via your account page, using a web browser (Account > Settings > Parent Controls).   The PIN will be required by anyone who uses their account, regardless of which profile they use, when they try to access content deemed to be over the maturity level you select.  PINs can be a good safety measure, especially if your kids have access to everyone’s profile on your Smart TV or the device they use.  As a word of caution to any parent that has particularly resourceful kids, you can easily reset your PIN with your Netflix Account Password!

For more information on Netflix parental controls, visit the Netflix website. Taking advantage of these features can help keep mature content to mature audiences, but again, measures like this are not always perfect.  As such, we encourage you to co-view Netflix (and other media) with your kids.  By doing so, you can not only ensure that what your child watches is appropriate for his or her age, but you can also help turn TV time into a positive learning experience – by taking the time to discuss what you’re watching and helping make connections to real life.  To learn more about screen time and kids, please see the Canadian Paediatric Society’s report, titled Screen time and young children: Promoting health and development in a digital world – sponsored by TELUS WISE, this research project provides insights into the impacts of screen time and recommendations for appropriate use of screen time.