Netflix parental controls update a cure for kids’ prying eyes

Kids can stream Netflix from almost anywhere (Photo: Netflix)

Timely solution for families at home on lockdown

With many people at home on lockdown there’s probably a whole lot more Netflix binging going on. For some, it may not be a bad thing. It’s finally giving folks a guilt-free opportunity to finally binge on Ozark Series 3 or catch-up on that most talked about, love-it or hate-it new series, Tiger King.

For parents it creates issues around managing TV time.

While Mom and Dad are working from home, the kids could be catching the latest episodes of Boss Baby. They could also learn life lessons from Mr. Miyagi from the classic Karate Kid but you may not be so inclined to let them feast their eyes on the provocative true-crime docuseries and the story of the mayhem and madness surrounding Joe Exotic and his tigers. 

Beyond age inappropriate content, parents may not want their offspring having carte-blanche to the entire Netflix catalogue to watch whatever they want whenever they want.

This of course poses a typical problem for parents. Historically, they could simply limit access to the family television or simply hide the TV remote. But now, Netflix streaming is readily accessible on a plethora of devices including gaming consoles, tablets, smartphones and more. While more convenient, customizing their children’s experience while limited access and filtering content is still a challenge.

This is what Netflix was hearing from their subscribers, and they listened. Today the company rolled out an update improving upon its existing controls. 

And with the kids at home, the timing couldn’t be any better.

Parents can already have their own profile and a default kid’s profile separate from their own so kids content shows up on the selection screen, but now they can take that even further.

Profile lock one way to control kid’s viewing

4-Digit PIN Profile Lock

Individual profiles can be protected with a four-digit PIN to prevent children from accessing them. Beyond the kids, this feature can also be handy for other members of the household who like to have their own lists and like to watch their favourite series at their own pace.

Select Maturity Rating or Restrict Titles

Maturity Ratings

To further filter titles for appropriate ages, maturity ratings can also be set for each individual profile. To make it easier for parents to select the right one to use, they can select from the built-in country ratings Netflix has provided. This is particularly handy as ratings may vary across different parts of the world – even between close neighbours like the US and Canada.

Hide Titles

Filters can be set to go even deeper, “hiding” specific titles or series regardless of maturity rating. So if nine-year old Billy is having nightmares about dragons, you can choose to filter out The Dragon Prince and other related titles on a case-by-case basis so they won’t show up in his profile even though it has a rating of TV-Y7, meaning it’s designated for children seven years of age and older.

Parents can also customize the kid’s experience or limit their screen time even further by turning off autoplay of the “next” episode. They can also review their activity and see what their kids have watched.

Setting up these controls is quite easy. From the Manage Profiles menu, you can set the profile picture, maturity rating, viewing restrictions, turn off auto-play and more.

Under the Account menu you can get a quick-view of all profiles and parental controls, with a drop-down menu showing individual settings for each profile. There you can also make changes as you could under the Manage Profiles menu, but here is where you can view and change features like the profile lock where you can set the PIN and also view the activity of the selected profile and more. 

If you’ve been on the fence thinking about jumping on the binge-watching bandwagon but hesitated because of the kids, rest assured. This timely solution offers new features that can help you help your kids maximize the Netflix experience. At the same time it will keep their prying eyes safe from accessing accounts and content they shouldn’t be – so you can, with peace of mind, go back to work or whatever you’re doing to keep busy (or sane) during these unprecedented and difficult times.

Stay safe everyone!

Greg Gazin, also known as the Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg, is a syndicated veteran tech columnist, communication, leadership and technology speaker, facilitator at Crestcom International, blogger, podcaster and author. Reach him @gadgetgreg or at

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