Showtime

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Showtime App Poster Image
Parent controls with no code = easy access to all content.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Subscribing and canceling is easy. Viewing is intuitive.

Violence

Many titles feature violent content, and even with restrictions set, kids will see images of blood, explosions, vampires, and zombies.

Sex

Many shows, including the "after hours" section, feature adult content. Even with restrictions set, kids can view the title and images, including shadow-covered nudity and couples kissing in bed.

Language

Parents can restrict kids' viewing based on movie or TV ratings.

Consumerism

After the 30-day trial, a subscription is required to watch, and shows include commercials for other Showtime programming.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking and drugs play into many shows significantly, and Weeds (a show about using and selling marijuana) is one of the featured titles.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the Showtime app is a subscription streaming service for Showtime shows and movies that doesn't require cable service. The monthly subscription is charged through the app store. Parents can set viewing restrictions for movies and TV, allowing TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14, TV-MA, or unrestricted ratings for television shows and G, PG, PG-13, R, or unrestricted ratings for movies; however, it's important to note that there is no code protecting parental settings, which means anyone can change the viewing restrictions. And even with the TV-Y/G settings enabled, kids will see all the show titles and images, even for the "after-hours" programs. Much of the content is violent or scary, sexual, or drug- or crime-related. Some family-friendly movies are available, but the original television programming is not geared toward kids.

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What's it about?

Browse SHOWTIME programming by series, movies, sports, comedy, reality shows/documentaries, after-hours content, and coming-soon content or watch live TV from the app. Show titles are searchable, too, and users can save programs to their lists for easier viewing. From the settings, parents can restrict the ratings, and if kids try to watch a show that is outside of that rating, they'll see a message that the content is restricted. However, there is no passcode to preserve the restrictions, so anyone can change them at will. Parents also can control which devices are logged in from the settings. Viewers can share on social media what show they're watching, and they can turn on or off closed-captioning for shows while viewing.

Is it any good?

Since most of Showtime's content is quite mature, parents will need to keep a close eye on the use of this app. One subscription can be used on multiple devices, and viewing restrictions are tied to the account rather than the device. That means parents will have to change the restrictions if they want to watch a mature show and remember to change the restrictions back before kids watch. Also, since there are no parental gates or passwords protecting the settings, kids can easily change them. Unlike HBO Now, Showtime is best used on a passcode-protected device that only parents use.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about parent controls and their purpose. What kinds of shows is it OK for them to watch? What's not OK?

  • Check the reviews for specific shows or movies to get the specs on each, and check out our Parent Concerns section to read more about sex, drugs, and violence in media.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (Free 30-day trial)
  • Subscription price: $10.99 / month
  • Release date: July 7, 2015
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Size: 14.60 MB
  • Publisher: iOS 7.0 or later
  • Version: 1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later

For kids who love stories and characters

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