A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that some of the free TV shows and movies streaming on Hulu may not be appropriate for kids. Although a lot of the content on the classic sitcoms, network dramas, and cable reality shows are fine for tweens, there are some programs, such as Prison Break, The Girls Next Door, and Saturday Night Live, that have violence, sex, and other inappropriate content that even some teens shouldn't be seeing. And, making the selection process difficult for parents, the site doesn't include a rating system or even the most basic MPAA and TV ratings. It also lacks a listing system of what type of bad stuff may be included in a show. User information, such as other websites visited and social media info is collected and shared with third party companies. Hulu recently added an opt-out feature for personal info, but users are automatically opted-in, and must go through multiple steps to remove all personal info from collection. Commercials are shown before and after all programs, unless users upgrade to a commercial-free subscription service. Sometimes, the commercials promote shows that are inappropriate for kids by showing iffy content.
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What's it about?
HULU.COM, the video library joint venture between NBC and FOX, hosts a slew of TV shows, movies, and interview clips available for free online. You can watch everything from tween-friendly classics like Who's the Boss? and The A-Team to newer shows such as The Office (not for tweens) and Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? (fine for tweens). There are also a growing number of full-length feature films to watch.
Is it any good?
Hulu.com is such a great place for entertainment it's hard to believe it's free. There are commercials, usually for about 2 minutes, before the show starts, but less than you have to sit through during a traditional TV program. The site's organization is very intuitive and there are nice features like full-screen and "lower lights" that add to the viewing enjoyment. As the site becomes more popular, the review section will probably become a top resource for what to watch. Who needs cable, when you have Hulu?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about which TV shows are appropriate for kids to watch and which ones aren't? What themes make a show good for all ages? What storylines should be reserved only for older teens and adults?
Talk about how old and new TV shows differ. Are the story lines and characters in these classic shows similar to today's shows? How?