Netflix Doesn’t Care About Your Children

My name is Dave. I am a father of three and one of the people behind the newly launched site iParent.tv. We created the site to help parents make informed decisions when it comes to their kids and technology, with tons of reviews and videos on the site that cover everything from Snapchat to XBox to Netflix.

I have personally done the research for and written many of these, so I’m not some techie newbie, and I just got blindsided by Netflix.

Netflix recently added the ability to have separate profiles on your account. This sounds great as a parent, because you can create a profile for your kids and restrict them from seeing any age-inappropriate movies or TV shows. I created a profile for my kids, checked the box that says “under 12,” and thought I was safe.

I should’ve known better, because what Netflix doesn’t allow you to do is create a pin or a passcode to access any profiles you’ve set up for the adults on your account. 

So when you open up Netflix, you can select any of the profiles, meaning there is no way to prevent your kid from switching between their profile and any other profiles you’ve set up that are intended for adults. 

I didn’t know this. I thought I was safe and just told my kids to log in and sign in under his profile.

I let our six-year-old son watch some Netflix on a tablet before he went to bed; after he was asleep, I did the good-parent thing and checked his viewing history:

Magic School Bus

Clifford

Cars

SpyKids

Unhung Hero

American Virgins

Naked Ambition

netflix

You gotta be kidding me!

There I was, checking what my six-year-old had recently watched, and what do I see?  A porn documentary with half-naked women and dildos showing up in the first 10 seconds.

My wife cried, but I didn’t. I just got mad at myself for not locking it down better with parental controls.  

The next day, my son asked my wife if he can delete some movies from Netflix. She played dumb and asked why. 

“I saw some immodest girls in some movies and fast-forwarded looking,” he said.  

That night I planned to talk with him before bed about what he’d seen, but just feet from his door, I start to cry. Geez, this sucks, having to tell a my young son that I let him down, that I have to explain what porn is, that I have to tell him it’s not his fault and that I love him no matter what he does. 

He just kind of stared at me for a minute, then said, “Dad, I kind of felt bad inside when I watched them.” I told him we all make mistakes, gave him a kiss, prayed with him, and tucked him into bed. Then 20 minutes after he was asleep, I went back inside and prayed to God he would forget all those damn things he saw because I know what porn has done to me. 

Lesson learned: don’t let your kid on Netflix alone. Or if you do, be prepared for dildos and porn documentaries. Oh, and if your kid watches those things, then Netflix will think you’re interested in them and suggest more of them. That’s the way Netflix works. 

So what now? I did some more digging around and became even more furious, because Netflix has done absolutely nothing to prevent this from happening to any of you.

However, I did find this though on a message board, from someone claiming to be a Netflix employee:  

So, if you’re as upset about this as I am and want to make some noise, please make some noise. This would be super-easy for Netflix to implement, and maybe with your help we can raise enough awareness to make them do it.

Here are a few ways you can help:

Call Netflix customer service at 1-866-658-3608 and tell them it is too easy for your kid to switch in between a kid account and the parent account and to enable better parental controls. Ask them to protect adult profiles with a passcode so this won’t happen.

Tweet this message:  Hey @Netflix please have better parental controls. Protect profiles with a passcode to keep my kids safe @iParentTV

Post comments saying the same thing on their Facebook page: Facebook.com/netflix

In the meantime, the only workaround we’ve been able to find is this:

Each profile has a toggle that lets you choose the maturity level of the content that profile is allowed to access. Adjust ALL your profiles to the rating you wish your child to have access to. 

When you want to watch a movie or show that is above your child’s rating, log in to your account using your username and password. Then adjust your profile’s rating to the level you desire, and then watch your show. Don’t forget to change it back to a lower rating when you’re done!

You can also filter out some of Netflix’s suggestions by adjusting your “taste profile” at the top of the page. If you’re like my family and would never ordinarily watch a racy, nudity-filled comedy, then you can tell Netflix that through your taste preferences. It won’t eliminate access to that content, but it will cut down on Netflix suggesting it.

That will work in the meantime, but this is a passcode for older profiles is an easy fix and one Netflix should implement. Let’s work together and make this change happen!

-Dave

The original review on Netflix can be found here

Check out the Book – Touchy Subjects by Craig Gross and David Dean to learn how to talk to your kids about sex and tech and more.

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