How to protect your children from harmful content, through adjusting the settings on your favorite Streaming Service
One of the most overlooked advantages of cutting the cord is the additional control you achieve the content that your children are allowed to watch. With Cable, you are bombarded by toxic commercials and programming aimed to brainwash you and your children into buying more things, acting a certain way, and viewing the world from a consumeristic perspective.
Let’s take control over what we allow our children to watch. And if we can save money in the process.. even better.
I know this first hand. I have a young son and daughter and am constantly infuriated by the media’s lack of moral commitment to empowering our youth with good messages. Instead, they only care about making a buck, at any cost, and to the detriment of our youth’s ideas and self-worth.
I think my friend Murphy from the Just Saying Network said it best on Twitter:
Cutting the cord does not just Save You Money, it also allows you to control what your family is watching
It’s great to be a cord cutter. Online streaming has opened up a whole new way to enjoy television and film and is slowly becoming the #1 cable TV alternative. But if you’re a parent, that wide selection of content can be a double-edged sword.
It can be hard to protect your children from adult material, especially in a world where almost everything connects to the internet. However, minding the media consumption of your children is not as impossible as it may seem.
With just a few common sense steps and little foreknowledge, you can keep age-restricted content out of the hands of your child. Here’s how you can keep harmful content away from your children with Netflix, Hulu, and Sling TV:
Although Netflix is probably the largest streaming company in the world; it does not have a comprehensive parental control feature. Instead, what if offers is age appropriate content curated based on individual profiles.
So in order to protect your children from age-restricted content on Netflix, what you have to do is create an individual profile for your child. Netflix has four different age levels for content, and they are Little Kids, Older Kids, Teens, and Adults.
Each age group receives different content and can only access content appropriate for their age group. So if for some reason Gangs of New York shows up on your 10-year old’s Netflix queue (it shouldn’t but computers can be weird), they still won’t be able to watch it.
The downside to all of this is the fact that if your kids are smart enough, they can just log out of their profile and watch something on your profile. Until Netflix comes up with a better solution, you’ll either have to supervise some of your children’s viewing time or place a bit of trust in them to do the right thing.
If you’d like to know more about creating Netflix profiles, head on over to Netflix Update to learn more.
As unsatisfactory as you may find Netflix’s parental controls, Hulu’s are even worse. From Hulu’s website:
“At this time, Hulu does not offer a setting that allows for more customized parental controls. Varying supported devices offer parental settings that are often times recognized by the Hulu app.”
To their credit, they do have a Family and Kids section, but as any responsible parent knows, this won’t cut it. You still need to diligently monitor what they watch in Hulu. The best solution (beyond hand picking their entertainment), is to change the age in your account settings so that mature content gets blocked.
Like I said, you’d going to have to be a little more active in protecting your children’s media consumption with this service.
At this point you’re probably expecting more bad news, but it actually gets better… a lot better. Maybe it’s because Sling TV is owned by DISH Network or maybe they’re just the only company that cared to do it; either way, Sling TV has the most effective parental control settings out of all the major streaming services.
Instead of logging out of your account or switching profiles, Sling TV allows you to select the age-appropriate categories that you want to allow or restrict, ranging from TV-Y to TV-MA for TV and from G to R for films.
If you want to watch restricted content you will be prompted to enter a simple four-digit code, which you can customize. As long as you don’t make it simple (like 1234), your account should be secure. It’s simple, it’s effective, and it doesn’t require you to log out or in, or to change your age in the settings.
Unfortunately, parental controls are not available with DIRECTV NOW, yet. We will be looking for this to change very soon.
However, many streaming devices have great parental control settings, so check the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website for details.
Common Sense Media
At the end of the day, I would say exercise your better judgment. You know your children better than any company or fellow cord cutter, and do what you think is best. In addition to the parental control settings on your favorite services, there are online resources like Common Sense Media that can help you make informed decisions about what your children watch.
I know all of this can seem a little daunting, but the power really is in your hands. As long as you know the steps, have the initiative, and maybe a little foreknowledge; there’s no reason why you can’t effectively keep harmful content out of the hands of your children.
Hey, cord cutting parents! What your tips and tricks to protect your kids from the adult material? Sound off in the comments below or send us a tweet!