How to Set Parental Controls on Popular Video Streaming Sites.
While video-on-demand sites have changed the way they consume content, they also host content that you wouldn’t want your kids to see. Adult content such as sex and violence can lead your children to misconceptions and destroy their innocence. But that doesn’t make these streaming sites bad. Their job is to serve a wide variety of audiences. I mean, who didn’t like Marvel heroes battling horrible villains in Hell’s Kitchen!
So what can you do about it? Use parental controls to make sure they are watching content that’s age appropriate. In today’s guide, I’ll walk you through some of the most popular video streaming sites and show you how to make them “kid-friendly” by setting parental controls.
How to set parental controls on YouTube
If you don’t already know, there is a YouTube app for kids only. Yes, YouTube Kids is available on iOS and Android platforms. It was a smart move on the part of Google, because now I can just lock / password protect the YouTube app, forcing kids to use YouTube Kids.
It includes parental controls and filters. It’s worth noting that YouTube Kids offers content specifically targeted at kids in music, education, and more. Other features include a screen time timer, disable search functionality, and limited ads.
However, if you want to block adult content on the YouTube app, there is a way. Follow these steps:
Launch YouTube in your favorite browser and sign in. Click on your profile picture in the upper right corner and select Safe Mode.
A dropdown menu will open with one toggle option and a message. It will tell you what limited mode is and how it works. Pretty simple stuff. There is also a disclaimer that basically protects Google in case something goes wrong. Click the switch.
A simple YouTube search for adults confirms that the settings are working as expected.
If you are using iOS, click your profile and in the Settings section you will find the Safe Mode toggle button. For Android users, this option can be found under Settings – General.
YouTube Restricted Mode lock
Wait, it was too easy. The kids could just turn it off again. To solve this problem, Google provides a blocking feature. Just log out of your YouTube account in your browser / app and the settings will be locked. Please note that the settings are browser dependent, so you will have to repeat them for each browser.
READ ALSO: 5 Best Parental Control Apps for Android
How to set parental controls on Netflix
Netflix takes a different approach. There are software controls and there are hard controls. As part of its software controls, Netflix will allow you to have multiple profiles and set maturity levels for each individual profile, which will dictate the content you can access. There are four types:
- For young children only – Suitable for all ages
- For older children and younger – Suitable for older children
- For teens and younger – Suitable for Teens
- All Maturity Levels – Adult Content
Here are the steps:
Go to Netflix and sign in. You will see a screen like this. Click Manage Profiles.
The Kids profile is the default, but you can make changes as needed. Click on the Kids profile, which should now display an edit button.
In the Allowed TV & Movies section, you will see two options: For young children only and For older and younger children. The first is for very young children with an interest in animation, while the second is suitable for teens who can watch Star Wars and Harry Potter films. Play around and see which one suits you best. When done, click “Save” and on the next screen click “Finish.”
Note. Have you noticed the “Child” option? Clicking on it will restrict access to all content that is unsafe for children under 12.
You can also keep track of what your kids are watching on Netflix by watching their activities. To do this, go to Account and scroll down where it says “My Profile”. Click View Activity.
This will show you a list of all the shows and movies your kids have watched. Soft controls allow your kids to view content that suits them. But it can still slip through the cracks, and this is where tight control comes in.
Also Read: How to Watch Netflix with a Remote Friend (Android | iOS)
The tight controls will allow you to set a PIN to access an account that allows you to access adult content. To tweak Netflix’s hard controls, which I recommend instead of the above solution, you’ll need to open the site in your browser. It doesn’t work in the app.
Go to Account and scroll down to Settings where you will see the Parental Controls option. Click here.
You will be prompted for your Netflix account password. Do this and click Continue.
You can now enter your four-digit numeric profile access code. You can also set content to be accessible without a password.
Your kids can now only access content deemed appropriate for them based on ratings such as R, PG, PG-13, TV-14, etc.
How to set parental controls on Hulu
Hulu is struggling to be the next Netflix. He has great content. Setting parental controls on Hulu is easy, because options aren’t enough anyway.
Hulu clearly states that access to content is dependent on the age you entered in your account profile. You cannot access adult content if you are under 17.
While this may work, it is not enough. How difficult is it to change the age in a profile? Hulu invites you to create a new profile for your children with the correct age restrictions. If you are subscribed to Hulu Plus, you can explore the Hulu Kids section.
How to set parental controls on Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime takes this issue more seriously than Hulu and offers many features for managing parental controls. Let’s take a look.
Log in to your Prime account, click on your profile and select Accounts & Settings.
There are different tabs. Click on Parental Controls where you can manage everything under one roof. More organized and easier access.
The first option is the Prime Video Pin, where you can set a password to prevent your kids from accessing Prime Video. Unfortunately, Amazon Prime doesn’t allow you to create separate profiles for kids like Netflix. Maybe they’ll read this guide and take a hint?
The next option is Viewing Restrictions, which will allow you to set an age limit for the type of content your kids can view. To access these videos, you will need to enter the PIN you set above. There are five categories: children, older children, teens, young adults, and adults. The number on the left represents age.
Below is a link that explains how the age limit works and maturity ratings are calculated. Since each country has its own governing body, please read which applies to your country.
Apart from that, Amazon says that you can also restrict certain categories and block access to all content within them. The MPAA rankings fall into four main categories: general, family, adolescent and adult. While this is good, I was unable to sort the content by category in Prime! Amazon Prime has a separate kids section, which is nice.
If your child uses a different device than you, Prime has the additional option to block certain devices. This option is just below the viewing restrictions. Just uncheck the box from any device you don’t want to share.
Amazon Prime also offers a PIN restriction for purchase, which means you’ll need to enter a PIN before you can buy anything on Prime, like shows and movies. You know kids can go shopping anytime!
After all, there is a “Browsing History” tab that works like Netflix, where you can keep track of what your kids were watching when you weren’t there. Unlike Netflix, these settings can be changed via the app.
How to set parental controls on Apple TV +
Apple TV + is one of the newcomers to the area, but it doesn’t shy away from responsibility. If you have kids who watch Apple TV +, you can set a limit on the number of movies and TV shows they can watch. The best part is that you can customize this setting for each device and retain complete control over the others. The process for limiting content is the same on all devices, so I’ll just show it in a web browser.
Go to the Apple TV website and sign in by clicking the Sign In button in the upper right corner.
After logging in, tap the profile icon in the upper right corner of the page and select Settings.
Once in the settings page, scroll down and look for restrictions. You can set limits for Apple Music, TV Shows and Movies separately. Once the changes are made, they will not be able to access content other than the specified age.
To make things more secure, this interface can be locked with a 4-digit password, which will prevent kids from bypassing this setting. You can change this password by following this link.
Conclusion: How to set parental controls for video streaming sites
The reason I reviewed these four sites is because they are currently some of the most viewed video on demand platforms that are equally popular with kids and adults alike. Let us know what you think in the comments below or if you have questions.