Here's how you can set parental controls for Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Sling
Posted September 19, 2016
Netflix and Amazon are at war over streaming rights.
MarketWatch reported last week that Netflix is looking to expand its reach across international waters in the coming years. But this has presented some problems for the streaming company. Not only does it face higher costs for the content it hopes to show overseas, but it also has a looming competitor on the seas of streaming — Amazon.
“Amazon continues to be a favorite long-term idea in the internet space,” said Tim Nollen, an analyst at Macquarie, a global investment group, according to MarketWatch.
Indeed, Netflix finds itself in contention with Amazon and other national streaming apps, like Hulu and Sling.
The channels all have a variety of content that make them unique. Netflix, for example, touts original shows like “Stranger Things,” “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.” Amazon, meanwhile, hosts “Transparent” and “The Man in the High Castle.”
But these shows tend to be tailored to mature audiences, putting children and families at risk for what they may see in the app. It’s especially risky given that Netflix, Amazon and other streaming apps have limited parental controls for their content, leaving some children vulnerable to explicit media.
Here’s a look at the four major streaming apps and how they embrace parental controls and what they’re missing.
What it has: Netflix’s parental controls can be set up from a computer or mobile device, according to the company’s website. It allows you to classify your Netflix content into four categories — “Little Kids,” “Older Kids,” “Teens” and “Adults.” This allows parents to create specific Netflix accounts for their children based on their age.
What it doesn’t have: While the streaming service allows users to set a PIN pass code to their parental control settings, Netflix doesn’t allow you to put a password on your account, giving your child or young teen the opportunity to log into an adult account.
What it has: Amazon allows parents to block video purchases using a PIN number. It also gives parents the option to block certain MPAA ratings (like MA or R-rated TV shows and movies) or specific categories. According to the company’s website, Amazon allows parents to pick through the categories General, Family, Teen and Mature.
Amazon also allows parents to block certain devices that their children use, according to one tech blogger. This blocked content will also include a lock symbol.
What it doesn’t have: There’s also no easy way for parents to create a separate Amazon video account for their child, like Netflix does.
What it has: As Hulu’s website explains, you have to be at least 17 years old to view mature content. Parents can change the age on the account to under 17 if they want to continue to block content after their kids reach that age. It may also be a good decision for parents to log out of their own account while watching with their children. There are family and kid sections on Hulu for youngsters, too. There’s also Hulu Kids for Hulu Plus subscribers.
What it doesn’t have: Hulu doesn’t have any custom parental controls. Kids can sneak into their parent’s account and find the content.
What it has: Sling’s parental controls are rather strong compared to the other apps. As the company explains, going into settings will allow parents to set parental controls where they can restrict content based on age settings. Sling also asks parents to enter in a pass code upon opening the parental controls. Mature content will then appear with a lock on it thereafter.
What it doesn’t have: Sling doesn’t have kid-specific accounts.
Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.