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Netflix

Lots of great kids' media but imperfect parent controls.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The app is intuitive to use, especially for those with a pre-existing Netflix account. Streaming with WiFi is fairly seamless, but use on the 3G network has been reported to be spotty, with lots of buffering interruptions.

Violence

App allows access to violent movies and TV shows. Movies and shows can be limited by age-appropriateness via online preferences in your Netflix account.

Sex

App allows access to movies and TV shows with sexual content. Movies and shows can be limited by age-appropriateness via online preferences in your Netflix account.

Language

The app allows access to movies and TV shows with language that may be inappropriate for your family. Movies and shows can be limited by age-appropriateness via online preferences in your Netflix account.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

This app allows access to movies that may contain drinking, drugs, and smoking. Movies and shows can be filtered by age-appropriateness through the preferences in your online Netflix account.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the Netflix app allows users with a Netflix account to watch streaming movies and TV shows on a mobile device. Parents can limit access to content through a PIN number (set online) that they'll need to enter any time someone tries to access content outside of the chosen age. Additionally, some controversial shows may not have warnings posted before the start of each episode, so users can stumble into intense or emotionally challenging content unwittingly. There's no way to adjust accessible content or any other settings using the app. Each family member (with up to five members) can have his or her own profile with a set age, favorites, social media links, and histories. There are no passwords on the profiles, so kids can easily change to a different one without parental consent. Families using a mobile network to connect should make sure their data plans are unlimited, or they should consider how their use will affect their monthly bill. As of 2016, it's possible to download limited content to a device. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared. Netflix is one of Common Sense Media's paying content partners, but its app was reviewed by an independent writer.

What's it about?

The NETFLIX app allows you to stream titles on a mobile device via your existing Netflix account using Wi-Fi or a mobile network. Though the app doesn't allow settings adjustment, parents can set filters on the website and create up to five user profiles with age-appropriate settings. There are no passwords or locks on separate user accounts, but parents can set a PIN that blocks access to mature content. Parental controls use four general categories: Little Kids, Older Kids, Teens, and Adults. Little Kids can access TV-Y content, whereas older kids can access up to PG movies and TV-PG content. Teens go up to PG-13 movies and TV-14 content. With the exception of the recently added warning cards to the start of episodes of 13 Reasons Why, there aren't any other advisory details provided at the beginning of shows that could have challenging content. Parents can make a "Kid" profile that will send a child into a special child-friendly area. The parental controls determine whether the area is a "Little Kid" or an "Older Kid" space, but either way it has a simpler interface and no access to listings by genre. For teens and adults, the app has revised genre listings, with several categories missing, including Music & Musicals, Faith & Spirituality, and Gay & Lesbian. Movies and shows in these categories are still accessible by search but cannot be browsed by category.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

This app version of the popular video streamer is a convenient way to access your account and the content it provides wherever you have access to a Wi-Fi or mobile network. The interface is simple to use, and the picture and sound quality is usually quite good on a Wi-Fi network, though mobile quality has been reported to be spotty, with lots of buffering interruptions. Given the portability of mobile devices, it can be tricky to keep an eye on what kids with access to mobile devices are watching, and the lack of password protection on profiles (or for exiting a Kid profile) is a major flaw. The universal PIN is the best safeguard, but it's a bit of a hassle to enter it whenever you want to watch something outside the set age range. But parents can access a list of recently viewed programs and movies using a Web browser if they want to verify what their kids have been watching. The lack of fine control over content accessibility may be challenging for parents whose kids are transitioning from "Little Kids" to "Older Kids," since there's a vast difference between a TV-Y show and a PG movie, although Netflix seems to have done a bit of extra filtering, especially on movies made before a PG-13 rating was available. It's important to note whether or not additional warnings and filtering will occur given the recent discussions and concerns surrounding the recently released series 13 Reasons Why.

It's also important to note that Netflix allows six devices to be registered to watch Instant movies. The availability of movies for Instant viewing has been steadily improving to include current hit films, TV programs, and programming for kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the meaning of "age-appropriate" when kids access Netflix. Why are certain movies or shows OK for one family member but not another?

  • Talk about rules and expectations. What are movie ratings? Which ratings are OK for each family member? What are the rules about using different profiles?

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Subscription price:Requires a minimum $8.99/month Netflix subscription
Release date:August 26, 2010
Category:Entertainment
Publisher:Netflix, Inc.
Version:1.1.0
Minimum software requirements:OS 3.1.3 or later, Android 2.2 and up

This review of Netflix was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

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About Our Ratings

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate.

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Parent of a 3 and 4 year old Written bylaribrook February 9, 2011

No child safety features. Use Caution.

The Netflix app is really only good for one thing - convenience... if you're sitting in the dr.s office you can let your child watch a bit of a show or something. But the part that makes this app just about unusable is the lack of safety features and parental control. This app absolutely must be used w/ close parental supervision. It gives access to the entire netflix streaming which includes just about anything that you would never, never want your kids to see. Of course it's mixed in with Thomas, Dora, Backyardigans, tween Disney shows, great kids movies, etc. But since you can't restrict their usage it's just about useless. USE WITH CAUTION.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Safety and privacy concerns
Teen, 15 years old Written bychriz123 April 25, 2011

if u have netflix go ahead and get this

welll...its a awesome app ...wut u use it for is up to you if yer kid knows wut they can and cant watch its fine plus they have parental settings so id say its for everyone
What other families should know
Educational value
Kid, 11 years old December 6, 2010

Its great on a cpu but not a mobile app

I have it. Best for a computer, but apps dont work as well. Just dont let your kids watch r rated movies have them say what they are gonna watch and make sure they are telling the truth like i have to do unless its rated PG-13 or a movie they watched. My parents trust me.