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How to set up parental controls on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu

Amy-Mae Turner

Welcome to Small Humans, an ongoing series at Mashable that looks at how to take care of – and deal with – the kids in your life. Because Dr. Spock is nice and all, but it’s 2018 and we have the entire internet to contend with.

Today's video streaming services are absolutely amazing for children's content, both educational and entertaining, but the savvy little monsters soon learn their way around an interface. 

Before you know it, you'll think you left your innocent toddler watching Wishenpoof and come back to find her staring wide-eyed at a fight scene in Ronja

It's important to understand how to set up your systems so that your precious poppets don't see something they aren't yet old enough to process. 

We've taken a look at how to safeguard Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu so that you can — within reason — be confident they don't view something they shouldn't. As far as having to listen to the Paw Patrol theme song for the 1,562nd time though — you're on your own... 

Netflix has a lot of great content for kids and adults, but you may want to lock down a few things.

Image: courtesy netflix


To add a child's profile to your Netflix account, simply hit "Add Profile" from your homescreen. Enter a name for the profile and tick the box for a child, then continue.  

If you click on that profile, straightaway you'll be taken to the Netflix Children's homepage, but it's advisable to delve a bit deeper into the possible settings to ensure a safe viewing experience. 

From the homescreen where you'll see the profile icons, if you click "Manage Profiles" you'll see a circle with a pencil appear on all the profiles you've created. Click on the profile you'd like to manage. Here, if you then click on the drop down menu where it says "Allowed TV shows and movies" you can select "For Little Kids only" which is content suitable for all ages.

If your child is seven years old or up, you can select "For Older Kids and below" while a non-child profile can have the setting "For Teens and below" to protect them from mature content.  

You can take this a step further if you want to restrict certain content via a PIN number but to do this you have to access your Netflix account from a web browser. This is also only an option for the entire account — you can't PIN protect individual profiles, so be sure to remember the number you choose! 

You can opt to put a total block on all content above a selected maturity level. Go to your Netflix account from a web browser. Go to Settings, then Parental controls. Enter your Netflix account password and select Continue. Choose a four-digit PIN. Now you have the ability to restrict content so that all that can be watched is programing suitable for Little Kids, Older Kids, Teens or Adults.

Netflix offers a variety of parental control options.

Image: courtesy netflix

It's worth noting in the United States, Netflix classifies content suitable for "Little Kids" as G, TV-Y, TV-G, "Older Kids" can access PG, TV-Y7, TV-Y7-FV and TV-PG. The "Teens" level is PG-13 and TV-14. 

Finally, there's also the option to block a specific film or TV show

Go to your Netflix account from a web browser, go to Settings, click on Parental controls and enter your password. Set up a PIN (if you haven't already). You can now set up PIN protection for a specific title by typing the name of it into the "enter show or movie name" box and clicking on it when you see it on screen.

Amazon Prime Video is the home of "Wishenpoof" and "Super Why!".

Image: courtesy amazon

Amazon Prime Video 

As you'd expect, Amazon has similar parental controls in place. 

The basic settings options from Amazon allow you to block content that falls into certain rating categories, but first you have to set up a Prime Video PIN number (if you haven't already). 

To do this from a browser, go to Prime Video Settings - Parental Controls, enter a PIN code and select Save.

Now head to the "Viewing Restrictions" section. You will now see the options to stop playback of video of various maturity levels. Select the appropriate restrictions. You can also choose which of your connected devices you want the restrictions to apply to.

Amazon Prime Instant Video lets you choose age setting restrictions to limit which content is available to kids.

Image: courtesy amazon

Once you've got the restrictions set up, you'll still "see" the more mature content, but it will have a lock symbol indicating that it's blocked content. You'll have to enter your PIN to view it. 

While you're tinkering under the hood of your Amazon account, it's also worth setting up purchasing restrictions. While you're in Prime Video Settings - Parental Controls, go to the "PIN on Purchase" section and turn it on. 

On the Prime Video app for Android and iOS you need to head to Settings, select Parental Controls, then set up a PIN, once that's done you can activate viewing (and purchase) restrictions for your mobile device. 

To set up viewing restrictions on a Fire TV device, select Settings from the Fire TV menu then "Preferences," then "Parental Controls." You can now use the Select button on your Fire TV remote to set the restrictions levels that suit you. 

Amazon's restrictions levels are similar to Netflix's — "General" is content rated G, TV-G, TV-Y, "Family" is PG, NR Family, TV-Y7, TV-Y7-FV, TV-PG and "Teen" is PG 13, TV 14. 

Hulu has simpler parental controls than Amazon or Netflix.

Image: courtesy hulu


Hulu's parental controls are simpler than Amazon's or Netflix's. You merely set up a child's profile and that basically means they can only access the Hulu Kids library of content. 

From a browser, once you've logged in, on the homepage click on "Add Profile". 

How to create a kid's profile on Hulu

Image: courtesy hulu

Give the profile a name, then toggle the "Kids" option to on, then create it. It's the same process on the mobile apps and via TV-connected devices. 

Once you've made a profile a "Kids" version, Hulu promises the profile owner will only be able to see family-friendly programming. 

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