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Using Netflix Parental Controls

With over 81 million users worldwide, the Netflix service is a household fixture that many families rely on when it comes to film and television streaming. Better still, it’s compatible with most different types of device so your account covers viewing on tablets, phones, internet tv’s and more.

But when it comes to providing comprehensive parental controls, the Netflix offering is sadly on the lax side. Still, they do offer some parental control options and this quick guide will show you how to get the most out of them:

User profiles

Hover over the icon in the top right of the screen and select the “Manage profiles” option (note you can only make these change from a computer or mobile browser, not from the Netflix mobile app). From here you can set the restrictions for your different profiles as well as creating new profiles if needed. There are four settings available “little kids”, “older kids”, “teens” and “adults”. The restriction you set will limit what material can be viewed using that profile. Different parts of the world use different rating systems. Check here to find out what ratings are connected to those 4 categories in your region.

PIN code

You can also set a PIN code for a profile which is then used to access content above the age limit. Set your PIN code by going to the “Your account” page, selecting “Parental controls” and entering your account password. Once a PIN is created, it will need to be entered to watch any material above the age rating set to the profile.

Problem points

There are a number of fairly fundamental problems with this system which make it particularly easy for children to bypass if that’s what they’re looking to do. If you have younger children or your children will not be actively seeking to access content you don’t permit them to view, you might well find that it adequately meets your needs. If your kids are likely to try and push at those boundaries, Netflix parental controls won’t hold them back, here’s why:

  1. Children can easily manually change to another profile. If you have multiple profiles set up with different restrictions in place, a child can enter a profile with less strict restrictions simply by pressing the current profile icon and then choosing a new one. There are a couple of potential ways to solve this problem:
    • You could have just one profile and require a PIN to access older rated material. This way though you don’t get such a personalised viewing experience; your child will be offered shows you watch (which might require a PIN) and you will be offered their favourite cartoons etc. too.
    • Set a restrictive PIN on all profiles. Whilst it might be a little frustrating to enter your PIN every time you want to watch something it will ensure that your kids can’t crash your profile to access rated material.
  2. Unfortunately, both of the aforementioned solutions to the first problem can also be bypassed by a wiley child. All they need to do to gain access is create a new user profile and claim that they are an adult.

The only really effective options remaining to parents are social ones:

  1. You can check up on what’s been viewed recently via the “Viewing Activity” page in “Your Account”. Agree with kids about what they’re allowed to watch and check here every now and then to make sure they’re playing by the rules. They could potentially enter this page themselves and delete items from the viewing history, but Netflix warns that such deletions can take 24 hours to take effect, so there would still be a window when they could be checked on.
  2. Only allow viewing on Netflix when you’re around to check in on them. You can potentially enforce such a strategy using Kidslox by scheduling restrictions to hide the Netflix app at times when you’re not physically present.

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