Is the Netflix App Safe for Kids?
A Complete App Profile for Parents
What is Netflix? (including the app)
Description: Watch TV shows and movies recommended for you, including award-winning Netflix original series, movies, and documentaries.
Category: streaming video
Related post: Roku Parental Controls Explained
APP Store rating: 17+ (Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor, alcohol, drug use, sexuality, nudity, and frequent/intense mature/suggestive themes). The word “infrequent” is an understatement, since it’s possible to find explicit content quite easily.
What do parents need to know about Netflix?
Set individual profiles. Netflix streams movies, which of course means there are R and NC17 rated movies. Even if parents don’t set up a separate profile for a child, it’s critical to at least enable a pin number for movies over a certain rating. You can only do this through the Administrator’s account (the one paying for the service) and it’s easiest from a laptop or Chromebook.
Quick tip for parents about recently watched videos. Netflix shows recently watched movies. A child would have to work very hard at clearing out inappropriate movies from their recently watched queue by intentionally starting “cleaner” movies. Parents can frequently check movie history and specifically talk to kids about the fact that there is a Netflix history, and these type of direct conversations can sometimes prevent inappropriate conduct proactively.
It seems that Netflix enjoys controversy. Most parents are familiar with 13 Reasons, the show that explores the life of teens and more specifically, suicide. The show was both hailed by teens as “authentic,” and sharply criticized by adults and mental health professionals for trivializing the complexities of teen suicide.
More recently, Netflix has been under fire for hosting an international movie showing a young girl masturbating, promoting a disgusting animated show about puberty called Big Mouth, and creating Baby, a coming-of-age story about teens entering the world of prostitution.
March 2018 Update! Netflix has rolled out two important updates for parents:
- Parents can now set a movie-specific 4-digit block for individual shows.
- Rating information is now more prominently displayed on each movie.
You can read more about these changes in this article from TechCrunch. It seems as though this feature improvement is in response to the outcry from parents, educators, and counselors from the 13 Reasons Why series, which is now heading toward another season.
Netflix bottom line: is it safe for your kid?
With parental controls set, watching Netflix should be a supervised activity, but it should be fine. Without parental controls, parents need to remember the types of shows that are available and keep access to the platform away from children.
Next step – check out our parent resources!
Are you ready to have awesome conversations with your kids about how to use their technology well? Please visit the Resources section of the website! There’s where parents will find amazing tools to help them raise kids who learn how to use technology well.