How to keep your children safe when streaming
By Cable.co.uk | Sunday, January 17th 2021
Lockdown is back and schools are closed, which means your children will be learning remotely and add even more screen time to their day. So, if you’re worried about keeping your kids safe when they’re streaming, read on. We’re going to give you a full breakdown on how to make sure your little ones have a safe time when online. Plus, if you want to know more about safe streaming, make sure you check out our Parental Controls guide.
One of the most popular online streaming services in the UK, Netflix has a great selection of family- and kids-friendly films and series that the wee ones can watch by themselves. You may already know the platform allows you to create a separate profile for your children, which only shows them what’s available for their age-range.
But if you want an extra layer of security – after all, kids are tech-savvy and learn how to switch between profiles quickly – then you can create a PIN code to make sure no one sees what they don’t need to.
With its archive of Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars films, Disney Plus is always a safe bet when streaming with the family. The kids will love all the classics and may get hooked on great tv series like The Mandalorian.
The Kids Profile blocks all PG and PG-13 content. You can also start and stop what your children watch from another device if you catch them bypassing your parental controls – really useful if they happen to switch to another profile with more access. The downside of Disney+ is that there are no time limits, schedules or any other way of blocking what the little ones can watch. Having said that, Disney+ is a very family-friendly streaming service with no mature or restricted content.
Amazon Prime Video
Prime Video is a perfect choice for kids’ entertainment, and if you have an Amazon Prime account you’ll already have access. It has plenty of cartoons and lots of hidden gems that will keep your young ones busy.
Amazon lets you block whole categories. This means that if you block PG-13 content your children will not be able to see any content with that rating without the PIN you set. Pretty safe, right?
If you have Apple TV+ at home and your children have access to it – especially now they’re spending more time at home – you can block specific content on the streaming platform. Simply select the apps or shows that are off limits and leave a good selection for the kids to watch.
However, be warned that Apple TV+ doesn’t allow you to create individual profiles. This means that if you want to watch something you’ve blocked your children from, you’ll need to use a pin to access it.
Have NOW TV at home? If the answer is yes, you’ll want to make sure your children don’t stray from their Paw Patrol, SpongeBob SquarePants and Peppa Pig. You’ll be glad to hear that you can set up a parental PIN. Plus, NOW TV already restricts some shows by default during certain hours of the day.
How does that work? Well, NOW TV requires a mandatory PIN to watch most live Sky Cinema channels, Sky Atlantic, Sky Comedy and Sky Documentaries between 5.30 am and 9 pm. On top of that, you can add an extra layer of security by setting up a Parental PIN that restricts shows by age rating too. No need to worry about the kids seeing anything inappropriate.
The good old BBC’s streaming services does come with parental controls. Of course, it does, proving that being an icon of broadcasting goes hand in hand with safety and security. You just need to look for the Parental Guidance Lock in the settings to create a PIN. Then, anything that has a BBC guidance label will require that number. The only hiccup of the BBC’s parental controls is that you need to set it up separately on every device that your kids use to stream content.
YouTube is an absolute rabbit hole of great educational and fun content, but it also has plenty of stuff you don’t want your children watching. If you need some ‘me’ time and you’re going to let the kids watch YouTube, it is worth spending some time setting up Parental Controls on the streaming platform. It’s as easy as turning on ‘Restricted Mode’. Unfortunately, it may not be enough since this setting relies on users flagging and moderators taking it down. So you’ll need to keep an eye on what they are watching, just in case something slips through the net.
Can I set up Parental Controls on ITV player? Well, the answer is a big yes. Of course, you can and you should if the little ones are going to enjoy some safe screen time while you finish writing that last-minute work email. Simply set up a parental guidance PIN and all access to non G-rated programs will be restricted. The kids won’t get bored with choices like DC Superhero Girls, Kung Fu Panda and plenty of LEGO animation shows.
And last but not least, All 4 – the on-demand streaming service from Channel 4. Targeted mostly at teenagers and adults, its content can be quirky and ground-breaking, and possibly not suitable for little children. Because of that, you may want to set up a PIN Protection using the platform’s parental controls. There are two levels, one for All rated content (16+ years old only) or 18 rated content. Piece of cake.
If you’re wondering what speed you need for streaming, check out our expert guide on broadband speeds. And you may also want to read our list of the best Internet Providers for families during lockdown.
What’s the favourite streaming platform at home? Make sure you’re all set up to provide our children with a very safe viewing experience, particularly now when so many of us are juggling parenting, working and home-schooling at the same time. And if you’ve got any questions or suggestions, get in touch.