Updated: Apr 19
Get step-by-step instructions on how to set up parental controls on almost any device.
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The Complete Guide to Online Parental Controls
Keeping children safe in an increasingly digital world is a difficult task for any parent. Without the proper controls, kids can be exposed to a number of threats while taking part in activities online. In 2019, the FBI estimated that an average of 625,000 sexual predators are active online every single day. Equally as terrifying, identity thieves specifically target millions of children each year. However your child spends time online, it’s important to set up appropriate parental restrictions to protect them. While these controls can never be 100% effective, they allow you to monitor your children’s digital habits and stop cybercriminals from ever contacting them.
With an ever growing list of devices and apps children use, it can be very time-consuming to try and figure out how to secure them all. This article will provide you with the ultimate list of instructions for each device and online platform so you can shield your children from harm quickly and effectively.
Phones, Tablets, & Computers:
Hide Inappropriate Content on Popular Streaming Services
Netflix is one of the few streaming platforms that allows extensive restrictions to be applied to underage profiles. The first step for controlling what shows are available to your children is to create their accounts using the Netflix Kids option. This can be turned on by ticking the “Kids” option when setting up a regular account.
Netflix Kids automatically restricts inappropriate content from selected profiles and prevents children and teens from applying any changes to the settings. You also have the option of applying additional controls.
Manage the Autoplay Feature and Maturity Restrictions on Netflix Kids Profiles:
Open the Netflix app and press “Manage Accounts.”
Choose the account you’d like to modify by pressing the pencil icon on its image.
Turn off the autoplay by unticking “Autoplay Next Episode in a Series on All Devices.”
Kids accounts will automatically have their viewing restrictions set to “T,” which stands for “Suitable for all ages.” However, you may want to change the restrictions for teenagers. Pressing “Edit” will take you directly to the Netflix website.
Enter your password and press “Continue.”
Use the slider to set up the highest age restriction. You can also set a list of blocked titles using the text bar underneath.
Tap “Save” to authorize all the changes.
Finally, Netflix allows you to secure certain profiles with a 4-digit PIN code. This will prevent your children from accessing accounts with high maturity ratings. However, you can only set it up through Netflix’s official website.
Secure Adult Accounts with a PIN Code:
Log in to your Netflix account and scroll down to “Profile & Parental Controls.”
Select which account you’d like to secure and tap the arrow next to it.
Find the “Profile Lock” option. Enter your password and press “Continue.”
Tick the box next to “Require a PIN” to protect your profile with a code. Input your chosen digits and tap “Submit.”
Hulu is possibly the only platform that doesn’t allow for custom-made content restrictions. Instead, you can create a separate account for your child and enable kid-friendly programming with a toggle. Keep in mind that even with this option turned on, your children will still be able to stream PG-13 and TV-14 content. If you try to bypass it and set up parental controls on your device or router, it’ll completely block all shows on the platform.
Create a Child Profile on Your Hulu Account:
Sign in to your Hulu Account.
Click your profile icon in the top right corner and select “Manage Accounts” from the drop-down menu.
Tap “Add Account.” Enter your child’s details and turn on “Kids” to allow child-friendly programs.
Press “Create Profile” to save.
Amazon Prime Video
With Prime Video parental controls, you can set age-appropriate viewing restrictions and prevent unwanted or accidental purchases by protecting them with a PIN code. When turned on, they’ll also stop the next episode from autoplaying. These restrictions are not as extensive as parental settings on Netflix, but they’ll still stop your children from accessing inappropriate movies and TV shows.
You can turn on parental controls using your phone or a laptop — both options are equally as quick and simple to set up.
Create Viewing Restrictions on Amazon Prime Using a PC or Mac:
Log in to your Amazon Prime account and press your profile icon.
Select “Settings” from the drop-down menu.
Open the “Parental Controls” tab.
Create a 5-digit PIN which will be required to make any purchases and bypass restrictions. Confirm by tapping “Save.”
Now, manage available viewing restrictions by using the list of parental controls.
Set Up Parental Controls on Amazon Prime With Android or iOS:
In the app, tap “My Stuff” and select the gear icon.
Go into “Parental Controls.”
Before setting up any restrictions, you’ll have to create a PIN code. Do this by pressing “Change Prime Video PIN” and follow the on-screen instructions.
When you’re done, tap “Viewing restrictions.”
Choose a desired age restriction and what devices you’d like to apply them to. Select “Save.”
Disney+ is a platform dedicated to kids and teens, so you won’t need to worry about any R rated content. However, as the app also has National Geographic and Marvel shows, some titles may be less appropriate depending on your child’s age. Luckily, you can block all scary and disturbing content by creating a Kids Profile. This will automatically restrict all movies and shows above a G-rating.
4 Easy Steps to Create a Kids Profile on Disney+:
Open the Disney+ app. Select “Edit Profiles” and then “Add Profile.”
Choose an image for the icon and add a name. Your child may want to be involved in this process, especially if they have a favorite Disney character.
Turn on “Kids Profile” by using the toggle.
To confirm, tap “Save.”
Protect Your Children From Pressure on Social Media
YouTube provides a tremendous amount of videos for users of all ages, but places absolutely no restrictions for any viewer by default. This increases the risk of your child accidentally stumbling upon explicit, scary, or disturbing content on a daily basis. Luckily, you can turn on YouTube restricted mode on the website itself or even download YouTube Kids — a separate, child-oriented platform that holds only safe and appropriate content.
YouTube Kids comes with limited functions and a restrictive filter that blocks most inappropriate videos. You can even apply age-based restrictions. “Pre-School” works best for children younger than 4 years old, “Younger” will display videos for kids up to 8 years old, and “Older” is designed for users between 8-12 years old.
Change Age-Appropriate Settings on YouTube Kids:
Open the YouTube Kids app. You’ll be prompted to sign in with your Google account.
Now, create your child’s profile. Enter his or her first name, age, and month of birth.
Select which age group content you want your child to view. YouTube Kids will automatically recommend the best option based on the details you entered before.
Tap your child’s profile icon. The app is now ready to use!
However, YouTube Kids isn’t always perfect. It’s possible for some weird and disturbing videos to slip through the filters, so don’t let your child use the app on their own. Moreover, the older your children get, the more likely they are to rebel against using a restricted kid’s app. To avoid unnecessary arguments and stress, you can allow them to use the common YouTube version, but remember to turn on Restricted Mode. This option is available on both the browser and mobile version of the platform.
Turn on Restricted Mode From YouTube.com:
Log in to your child’s account and select the profile icon in the top right corner.
Tap “Restricted Mode: Off” at the bottom of the drop-down menu.
A small window will pop up to explain what the setting aims to do. Turn it on by clicking the toggle.
This will activate the restrictions within that particular browser. If your child uses any other browsers, you’ll need to repeat these steps for each one.
Activate Restricted Mode on the YouTube app:
Open the app and press the profi