A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Movies Anywhere is a movie storage and viewing site that consolidates purchases across multiple services. Users aren't asked to enter an age when registering for a free account, so kids might be able to sign up, although the site indicates in multiple locations that it's for users 13 and older. Parents can set some controls to allow kids to watch only movies with a certain rating. And to actually add and watch movies, you need to have a digital media account to link your Movies Anywhere account to. Some available/featured films may have mature content in the areas of sex, drugs, language, or violence, but they can only be watched with a digital account or a purchase of that film. Trailers on the site itself are generally appropriate for most audiences. The site also offers a watch-together feature that works across TVs, the web, and mobile devices. Movies Anywhere is one of Common Sense Media's paying content partners, but the site was reviewed by an independent writer.
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What's it about?
Users can connect their MOVIES ANYWHERE to iTunes, Amazon, and other digital retailer accounts to create a central hub for watching the full-length digital movies they own. YouTube, Microsoft, Xfinity, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Verizon Fios TV, and Vudu/Walmart accounts can also be linked to Movies Anywhere. You can search recent Hollywood hits -- grouped under headings like "Inspire Me" and "Family Movie Night" -- and buy titles you might not be able to access from a digital retailer. You can also watch previews, read reviews, and get suggestions for similar films to those you've liked. Users can also have a co-viewing experience with a feature called Watch Together, which syncs up the viewing experience with friends on TVs, web, or mobile devices. The service can be accessed on computers, on mobile devices via an app, and through TV-connected devices.
Is it any good?
This digital service makes it easier to consolidate movie purchases from multiple accounts in one location, but content limitations keep it from being a must-have site for film fans. Because you can connect your Movies Anywhere account to iTunes, Amazon, Xfinity, etc., instead of juggling lots of different services, you can just log on to a single website to access all your purchased movies. You can also search the site's library to buy other titles. That said, Movies Anywhere doesn't directly sell the films listed on its site. Rather, when you click on the "buy" button, you'll see which of their digital service partners offer it.
There are many family-friendly options listed in specific collections/sections of the site, and review information from both Rotten Tomatoes and Common Sense Media is available to help parents determine age-appropriateness. Parents can also add a kid-specific profile to their account and restrict access for that profile to movies with a certain rating. That means that kids won't see the "buy" button, so they shouldn't be able to purchase anything. But there are some limitations: For example, not every movie from the featured studios (including Disney, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., and Universal) is available to purchase through Movies Anywhere, and the selection is further limited when you impose the age-related content restrictions. Also, the kid-specific profiles don't have separate login information. You can lock a kid profile if you're using the Movies Anywhere app -- which stops them from being able to access your account information -- but that functionality isn't available for the service's website. There, kids can easily toggle back and forth between their account and their parents' and change any rating restrictions. Signing kids up for a separate Movies Anywhere account may not solve the issue, because it can be hard to have two email addresses connected to one digital provider account. Bottom line? This is a handy consolidation service, but the content may feel limited in some cases, and kids who don't have their own partner accounts -- or don't have as many as an adult might -- may not actually be able to have everything in one place after all.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time limits. What guidelines can you set to ensure that you're also enjoying other activities?
If a website doesn’t have reviews or other information about its content, how can you tell whether movies/videos are meant for kids or adults? Discuss which elements might indicate that something isn't OK for kids to watch -- and why it might help to ask an adult if you're not sure.