Netflix App: Safety Guide for Parents

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Netflix App: Safety Guide for Parents

November 17, 2021

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What is the Netflix app?

  • Netflix is a paid streaming service that offers shows, movies, anime, documentaries, etc. on an internet-connected device
  • The Netflix app allows users, with a paid Netflix account, to watch streaming movies and TV shows and play games on a mobile device
  • Family members can share one account with up to 5 individual profiles
  • You must be 18+ to start a Netflix membership, according to the company's website
  • Netflix offers parental controls and “kid” profiles under the adult’s account
  • Netflix started offering games in November 2021 on both Android and iOS devices that are included with a Netflix subscription
  • Games are “Adults Only” and access to the games is not available on Kids’ profiles 
  • Games are available in many languages based on the user’s preferred language in their Netflix account
  • Some games may be downloaded and played when the device is not connected to the internet

Why should parents care?

  • Netflix has a vast video library, with content ranging from educational to violent and mature
  • The Netflix app offers parental controls, but you cannot access them from the app
  • All parental controls must be set up on Netflix.com
  • Parents can see a list of recently viewed titles on Netflix.com
  • Netflix users can use browser extensions, like Netflix Party, to watch shows and movies with friends or strangers (& chat while streaming together)
  • The games we tested are available as additional apps offered by Netflix that must be downloaded to your device (not played directly through the Netflix app) and shows Netflix profile is logged in
  • ~Even when a Kid profile is selected the downloaded game plays (Kid accounts can play the games on the device, but not see them to download in the Netflix app)
  • Playing games on a smartphone or tablet can become addictive and students (or adults) can use up any screen time allocations set for the day playing mindless games

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Green Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
We believe this app is a STARTING POINT for your student, but that you must monitor your student on every app they are on. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Gray Zone

Parents and Teachers: Please note this app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe.
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Red Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone. We believe this app is not safe for students to use without adult supervision. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Dangerous Social media challenges

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge. Knowing about social media challenges before your teen does can help you keep them safe before an incident occurs. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Table of Contents

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The Netflix app allows users to stream or download popular movies and shows from a mobile device. Netflix added several safety features in 2020 to improve parental controls to make the app safer for students.

The New York Times headline: Everyone you know just signed up for Netflix. The streaming giant added nearly 16 million new subscribers in the first three months of the year.
With an almost bottomless well of movies and serials that can be watched on almost any device, it’s the kind of service that would be dreamed up by someone stranded on a desert island — or stuck at home during a pandemic… Netflix has 182.6 million subscribers, making it one of the world’s largest entertainment services. The New York Times, April 2020

What is the Netflix App?

  • Netflix is a paid streaming service that offers shows, movies, anime, documentaries, etc. on an internet-connected device
  • The Netflix app allows users, with a paid Netflix account, to watch streaming movies and TV shows and play games on a mobile device
  • Family members can share one account with up to 5 individual profiles
  • You must be 18+ to start a Netflix membership, according to the company's website
  • Netflix offers parental controls and “kid” profiles under the adult’s account

Where is the Netflix app available? 

Netflix Icon 2020

Why do students like the Netflix app?

  • It’s easy to search for movies and shows on the app
  • Users can create a playlist on the My List feature
  • You can download titles for offline viewing
  • The app gives recommendations, based on a user’s history
  • Users can play and pause without commercials

Why should parents care?

  • Netflix has a vast video library, with content ranging from educational to violent and mature
  • Netflix offers parental controls, but the settings can only be changed from the account settings when logged in on a web browser (not from the app)
  • Parents can see a list of recently viewed titles on Netflix.com
  • Netflix users can use browser extensions, like Netflix Party, to watch shows and movies with friends or strangers (& chat while streaming together)

What are Netflix Games?

Netflix Games logo
  • Netflix started offering games in November 2021 on both Android and iOS devices that are included with a Netflix subscription
  • Games are “Adults Only” and access to the games is not available on Kids’ profiles 
  • Games are available in many languages based on the user’s preferred language in their Netflix account
  • Some games may be downloaded and played when the device is not connected to the internet

Why should parents care about Netflix Games?

  • The games we tested are available as additional apps offered by Netflix that must be downloaded to your device (not played directly through the Netflix app) and shows Netflix profile is logged in
  • ~Even when a Kid profile is selected the downloaded game plays (Kid accounts can play the games on the device, but not see them to download in the Netflix app)
  • Playing games on a smartphone or tablet can become addictive and students (or adults) can use up any screen time allocations set for the day playing mindless games

Netflix in the news

The Washington Post headline: Tech companies are adding parental controls amid a virus-fueld surge in screen time. TikTok, Netflix and Google introduced new tools for parents, but some critics say it's too little, too late.
It’s the era of coronavirus screen time, and some tech companies are rolling out new tools to help parents better monitor what their kids are watching and doing online… Previously [Netflix] allowed parents to set up accounts for their children with limited content, but there was no way to prevent them from navigating back to an adult’s profile. The Washington Post
The Verge headline: Netflix will allow parents to remove movies and shows, filter by rating in new update. Making profile accounts for kids even more specific.
The biggest addition is the ability to remove an individual TV series or movie by title. Think of it like a search filter… Other updates to parental controls include adding PINs to protect profiles, the ability to review a child’s viewing history, and disabling autoplay. The Verge

What can parents do?

Netflix App Guide by SmartSocial
  • Set up an age-appropriate Netflix profile for each person your family
  • Lock each profile and make each PIN different
  • ~Don't tell your students the PIN for your adult profile or the account password
  • Don't share your Netflix password with your kids or they can access the Parental Controls settings
  • Turn off the Autoplay controls to help reduce the time students spend watching Netflix
  • Watch Netflix together. Spend time as a family adding interesting and appropriate shows for each user’s profile to encourage your students to watch both entertaining and educational shows

How to access Netflix parental controls

Netflix Parental Controls
  • Open Parental Controls (on Netflix.com, not in app)
  • Choose a maturity level for each profile
  • Require a PIN for each profile (in Settings → Profile Lock)
  • Review the list of Restricted Titles for each profile (which will carry over from your existing parental controls)
  • Click Save to implement changes

Conclusion

Netflix is constantly adding new content to keep users logging back in day after day. It’s a good idea to keep an open dialogue with your student about the types of shows and movies that they’re interested in. Stay engaged with their sources of entertainment and don’t rely solely on the app’s parental controls to protect your students from content that you deem inappropriate.

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