Netflix App: Safety Guide for Parents
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The Netflix app allows users to stream or download popular movies and shows from a mobile device. Netflix added several safety features in 2020 to improve parental controls to make the app safer for students.
With an almost bottomless well of movies and serials that can be watched on almost any device, it’s the kind of service that would be dreamed up by someone stranded on a desert island — or stuck at home during a pandemic… Netflix has 182.6 million subscribers, making it one of the world’s largest entertainment services. The New York Times, April 2020
What is the Netflix App?
- The Netflix app allows users, with a paid Netflix account, to watch streaming movies and TV shows on a mobile device
- Netflix also offers original programming on its app
- Family members can share one account with up to 5 individual profiles
- You must be 18+ to start a Netflix membership, according to the company's website
Where is the Netflix app available?
- Apple App Store: 12+
- Google Play: T (for teen)
- Streaming Media Players & Smart TVs
- Developer’s Website: Netflix
Why do students like the Netflix app?
- It’s easy to search for movies and shows on the app
- Users can create a playlist on the My List feature
- You can download titles for offline viewing
- The app gives recommendations, based on a user’s watch history
- Users can play and pause without commercials
Why should parents care?
- Netflix has a vast video library, with content ranging from educational to violent and mature
- The Netflix app offers parental controls, but you cannot access them from the app
- All parental controls must be set up on Netflix.com
- Parents can see a list of recently viewed titles on Netflix.com
- Netflix users can use browser extensions, like Netflix Party, to watch shows and movies with friends or strangers (& chat while streaming together)
Here’s how to access Netflix parental controls:
- Open Parental Controls (on Netflix.com, not in app)
- Choose a maturity level for each profile
- Require a PIN for each profile (in Settings → Profile Lock)
- Review the list of Restricted Titles for each profile (which will carry over from your existing parental controls)
- Click Save to implement changes
Netflix in the news
It’s the era of coronavirus screen time, and some tech companies are rolling out new tools to help parents better monitor what their kids are watching and doing online… Previously [Netflix] allowed parents to set up accounts for their children with limited content, but there was no way to prevent them from navigating back to an adult’s profile. The Washington Post
The biggest addition is the ability to remove an individual TV series or movie by title. Think of it like a search filter… Other updates to parental controls include adding PINs to protect profiles, the ability to review a child’s viewing history, and disabling autoplay. The Verge
What can parents do?
- Set up an age appropriate Netflix profile for each kid in your family
- Lock each profile and make each PIN different
- Don't tell your kids your PIN
- Don't share your Netflix password with your kids or they can access the Parental Controls settings
- Turn off the Autoplay controls to help reduce the time students spend watching Netflix
- Become a free Smart Social member and get weekly newsletter updates on trending apps and social media news for students
- Become a VIP (Very Informed Parent) Member at SmartSocial.com for access to 30+ workshops to help your students stay safe on social media so they can Shine Online™
Talk with students about Netflix content
- Tell your student they can only use their individual profile when they are watching Netflix without an adult
- Talk with your students about the type of content that’s appropriate to watch on Netflix, or anywhere else online
- Explain how ratings work and why certain family members can watch certain types of shows and movies
- Consider setting screen time limits with a social media agreement
Netflix is constantly adding new content to keep users logging back in day after day. It’s a good idea to keep an open dialogue with your student about the types of shows and movies that they’re interested in. Stay engaged with their various sources of entertainment and don’t solely rely on the app’s parental controls to protect your students from content that you deem inappropriate.
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