A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
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 setting adjustments, parents can set filters on the website and create up to five user profiles with age-appropriate settings. Access to specific profiles can be restricted by activating the profile lock. Managing profiles and making changes to the account requires a password. Parental controls include viewing restrictions, profile locks, and access to viewing activity. The default "Kid" profile only shows titles with maturity ratings for twelve and under, which are TV-Y through PG movies and TV-PG content. Parents can adjust and further limit maturity rating access under viewing restrictions for the profile. Parents can also block specific titles that may not have been caught in the ratings filter or that may be specifically objectionable to their family.
With a few exceptions (such as the warning cards at the start of episodes of 13 Reasons Why), other than general maturity rating and content description, there aren't any other advisory details provided at the beginning of shows that could have challenging content. The app tracks viewing trends under each profile and recommends titles based on viewing history. It also makes recommendations based on popularity on Netflix and trending status. For adults and teens, the app lists titles under a collection of categories that aim to represent diverse interests, including Music & Musicals, Comedies, Crime Movies, History Documentaries, Netflix Originals, International Movies, and LGBTQ Movies. The search function allows users to find specific content offered on the Netflix platform.
Is it any good?
This app version of the popular video streamer is a convenient way to access your account and the content it provides. Although easily accessible with access to a Wi-Fi or mobile network, users also have the option to download titles for offline viewing, which adds on-demand appeal. The interface is simple to use, and the picture and sound quality are usually quite good on a Wi-Fi network, though mobile quality has been reported to be spotty, with lots of buffering interruptions. Titles are usually accompanied by maturity rating and a brief description to help families determine whether it's worth watching. It's important to note that additional warnings and filtering may occur, given concerns surrounding shows like 13 Reasons Why. To address concerns around loop holes, Netflix has added features to improve parent controls and profile security. The universal password is required to make changes to any of the account's settings. The profile lock, which is a four-digit code, adds an additional layer of security, restricting access to profiles without the code. This ensures kids don't access more mature content by opening another family member's profile. This can also come in handy for those wanting to lock others out of their profile so their viewing preferences don't impact viewing history and the platform's recommendations based on viewing trends. Parents can also access a list of recently viewed programs and movies using a Web browser if they want to verify what kids have been watching. And parents have significant control over a profile's access to particular maturity ratings and can scale up or down based on what they feel is appropriate for their kids. The improved parental controls and security features bring families closer to ensuring kids have a safe viewing experience. The only downside is that all of this has to be done on a Web browser, and editing features on the app itself are extremely limited. Netflix offers great content, countless titles, and is consistently adding new and original content ensuring something for everyone!
Talk to your kids 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? If profile locks are not set, what are the rules about using different profiles?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Price: Free to download
- Pricing structure: Free to try (monthly subscription ranges from $8.99 - $15.99.)
- Release date: April 13, 2020
- Category: Entertainment
- Size: 74.70 MB
- Publisher: Netflix, Inc.
- Version: 12.27.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 12.0 or later, Android 5.0 and up
- Last updated: February 4, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.