Updated November 19, 2020
Netflix has been a parental control problem
For years, Netflix has confounded parents. The app stores have only recently aligned their ratings to be 12+ (Apple) and Teen (Google Play), instead of 4+ (which made zero sense). It took a global pandemic to force Netflix to create parental controls that work, which we explain below.
3 layers of blocking on Netflix
Netflix is finally catching up to what parents want with their parental controls. We LOATHE some of their decisions – how they marketed the movie Cuties, as an example – but the parental controls are decent.
There are 3 primary layers of controls that parents will want to know about:
- Setting a pin at the individual profile level.
- Setting a ratings level for a profile.
- Blocking individual titles within a profile.
All, some, or none of these parental controls might be necessary for your family – you can decide after reading more below.
Layer #1 – Setting a pin at the individual Netflix profile level.
During the beginning stages of the 2020 pandemic, Netflix added the ability to set a 4-digit lock on individual accounts, as shown on the screen shots below. Only the Netflix Account Administrator (the person paying for the account) can make this change.
Reason that this might be necessary: if the parent profile has a different allowed rating level for shows, you might not want children browsing the parent profile.
Layer #2 – Setting a ratings level for a profile.
Do you want your children viewing PG only? PG-13? Is it a kid account where you only want kid movies? See the image below for where you can make this decision.
Layer #3 – Blocking individual titles within a profile.
Even if a ratings pin is set, the thumbnail and description can still be seen and read, which means you might want to block specific titles. You might also disagree with whatever rating the MPAA has set for a movie. For example, you might not believe that a certain PG-13 movie is appropriate for a 14-year-old, so you might want to block it. See the image below for where you can make this decision.
Netflix Parental Controls Hack!
Right now, a Netflix account can have up to 5 profiles. A hack employed by some kids to get around ratings restrictions on their individual profiles has been to create a new account, watch whatever they want, and then delete the account. Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t restrict who can create a new account.
But, if a parent fills in the open profile slots with “dummy” profiles that have a passcode (Layer 1 above), then kids can’t create extra accounts to bypass what mom and dad have put in place.
What’s a Netflix Party?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a non-Netflix company create a Chrome extension called Netflix Party. It allows multiple people to be chatting and watching a Netflix show together. We wrote about it when it released!
Related: What’s a Netflix Party?
What are Fast Laughs?
Fast Laughs are short snippets from comedy movies and shows (sound kind of familiar…Netflix jumped on the TikTok bandwagon). Users have the option to react, add to watch list, or start watching immediately.
Are you curious about parental controls for other streaming services? We’ve written about many of them:
Now what? Take an extra step.
Have you heard of the Protect App? It’s our solution for busy parents who want complex digital safety issues broken down into manageable chunks. We’re excited about it and we can’t wait for you to see it! Download it for free today!
I love life. Seriously! Each. Day. A. Gift. Former CPA, business advisor, youth pastor, development director. Manage marketing efforts for Covenant Eyes and CEO of PYE. God shares wild ideas with me about life while I run. I have a relentless drive to help families use technology well.