How to Use Parental Controls
Let’s talk about parental controls.
Now, this is a topic that comes up pretty often in our comments, so I thought it would be good to address it. We’re going to talk about how to set them up, why to set them up, on several different apps.
The why of parental controls is pretty obvious if you are a parent. If you’re not, it’s tempting to just skip right past them, and sometimes that’s okay, but there are times when you’ll still want to go in and take a look at them.
For instance, Prime Video has in-app purchases, so you may want to lock those with a PIN if you don’t want somebody else, a roommate, for instance, getting in and making those purchases on your profile.
So we’re going to talk about how to set up parental controls on several different services, some of the big ones especially, so Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, and Prime Video.
I’m even going to throw Tubi in there, that’s a free service, and it has a little bit of a wrinkle in there that other free services are going to run into as well, so I thought it would be good to have that example.
Now, if you’re using an app that I’m not going over today, that’s all right, it’s really about the principle of it. Once you get the hang of it and where these things are located, you can go find it on any streaming service.
Well, any streaming service that offers parental controls, but that should be most of the premium ones, so let’s get started.
Managing your profile
So once we get here onto the front page, I’ve logged in, and now I can go right down here to “Manage profiles,” and I’m going to be able to edit these.
Obviously, you can see I can add a profile right there. Actually, let’s do that first, let’s add a profile, and we’re going to do a test profile here, and let’s say yeah, this is a kids profile, let’s see what happens.
Going to continue on here. Okay, well, I’m going to have to now manage that, that’s already set up as a kids one, but if I come in here and edit this, I’ll be able to edit the maturity settings in the browser, so okay, I got to put in my password first, and then once I’m in here, you’ll see that it displays as a kids profile automatically.
Now, if I adjust downward, that stays there. So I can go for very young children, up to TV-PG, or PG for movies. If I go above that, you’ll notice that this checkbox goes away, that is no longer a kids profile. So if I want to check that box, that is the highest rating that I can allow on that Netflix profile.
Now, one thing that is really nice on this is this box right here, “Title restrictions for test.” I mean, okay, for this profile, the test profile I’ve got here.
And the reason I like this a lot is… And maybe this is a little bit sneaky, but your kid is… Hey, I’ve got a seven-year-old and a four-year-old, I know how this goes, they get obsessed, right? And pretty soon, you don’t want to hear the theme song or watch the show anymore, whatever the show might be, Tayo the Little Bus, or whatever these shows are that kids are watching. If it’s driving you absolutely crazy, you can go ahead and restrict that specifically.
And I can do this with any of these, right? So I could go into an adults profile and set the maturity ratings on that.
On an adult profile, it’s going to be automatically all the way to the right, but if for whatever reason you don’t want that content to be accessible, you can go ahead and pull that down to whatever level your household is comfortable with.
Next up is HBO Max, so again we’re going to the front page of HBO Max on the website. Now with HBO Max, you’re going to get the same functionality whether you’re in the app or you’re online.
Either way, you get to this front page, you manage profiles, and then you can go into whichever one. So if I go to this kids profile, “Kiddos,” okay, so I need to enter my PIN before I can do that. Let’s hope I remember my PIN. And looks like I do, okay.
So once I’m in here, now I can, for this kids profile, adjust movies and TV separately, which is kind of nice. I can also toggle this button right down here, “Require the PIN to switch profiles.” This is really nice if you have kids, or you got teenagers that you don’t want accessing the adult profiles on something like HBO Max, because yeah, there’s some very adult stuff on HBO, and you go ahead and toggle that on so that if you’re in a kids profile on whatever device, to get out of it, you’ll need to use that PIN that you set.
Now, on HBO Max with the adult profiles, you do not get that option to change the content level like you do on Netflix. Even on the adult profiles on Netflix, you can shift what you allow. Not so on HBO Max, HBO Max only lets you do that on kids profiles.
Now, Hulu is an interesting one. You can do this either in-app or online, I’m going to stick here in the browser for now to show you how to do it, but it’s going to be basically the same thing if you’re using the app on your Roku or Fire TV, or whatever. I’m going to come right up here to “My profiles,” and you can see I can switch profiles here, but I’m going to come right down here to “Manage profiles,” and when I click on “Manage profiles,” it takes me right here.
You can go to the overview of your account, but it does not give you any additional parental control functions there, but here in the profiles, I can click on these and edit them. You’d think this is where you’d want to go if you want parental controls.
Well, kind of, not really. You can, on a kids profile, toggle this switch, “Turn on to watch only kid-friendly programming.” Okay, well that makes sense, this is a kids profile, so we turn that on. If I turn it off, it’ll want to know when I was born, what my gender is, presumably so they can target different shows at me.
But anyway, I want to keep this as a kids profile, and frankly that is pretty much the only option you’ve got, they don’t have that same kind of slider, that sliding scale that allows you to choose what rating you want to go with, so that is not there.
So yeah, Hulu keeps it really simple, I kind of wish they had more functionality, but what they do have, yeah, you can access right there, again, either online or in the app.
All right, Prime Video is another one. This one is tough because again, you want to go online to change a lot of these settings, it’s not really available in the app, but the only problem is Amazon is such a huge site that it’s tough to find, so if you want to know how I got to this page, “Parental controls,”
I’m going to come right up here to this little hamburger where it says “All,” and then come down here to “Digital content and devices, Prime Video,” and yeah, so that’s where… That’s how I get here. Once I’m in Prime Video, I can go right over here to these settings, and that’s where I can find the parental controls tab.
Now, Prime Video has one of the more robust versions of parental controls out there, but it does have one little quirk that I’ll get to in just a second. First of all, you set up your Prime Video PIN.
I would highly recommend you do this, whether or not you’re setting up parental controls. This PIN, it says, “Is used to authorized Prime Video purchases and to bypass parental controls,” but I would turn this on even if I lived alone, because you know, you sit on the remote or you misclick, or whatever, and you accidentally buy or rent a show. Well, this will keep you from doing that, so I would set that PIN up and turn on purchase restrictions, but again, that’s up to you.
When you come down here to the viewing restrictions, here’s the weird thing about Prime Video. So you can set your approximate age for what you want the viewing restrictions to be, but then instead of doing that per profile, this is going to be a setting that is done by device.
So if you’ve got kids who are using, say, an iPad or a phone or whatever, and that’s the dedicated device that they use to stream on Amazon Prime, then you can go down here, okay, so I want to uncheck all supported devices, let’s say they only use the old Xfinity box that I don’t have anymore.
Okay, so we’ll restrict that one just by itself, and I only want them to get stuff up to 13 or so, and it’ll say “Viewing restrictions updated,” you don’t have to press “Save” or anything, it does it automatically.
All right, hopping on over to Disney+, I’m on the front page. Before I go into any of the profiles specifically, I’m going to come up here to “Edit profiles,” and select a profile to edit. Okay, so let’s go to these, the kids profile here. Now, kids automatically cannot use GroupWatch, you’ll notice that one is grayed out, and it also turns off auto play, but it does keep on background video.
Now, down here at the parental controls, here is where you can manipulate just a little bit. This one is grayed out, a kids profile does not let you adjust content on that sliding scale, it just cuts it off. But one thing you can do is go right up here to “Kid-Proof Exit, make it harder to leave a kids profile with a simple exit question.” So if you have really young children, you can turn this on to keep them from going to your profile.
This one, I… As a parent, I’m a little bit less concerned about it, because it’s still Disney+, they don’t do a lot of adult-oriented content, but there may be things that you don’t want your littlest kids to see, so you can turn on the Kid-Proof Exit, and then you can also set up a profile PIN.
I would not do this for a kids profile, but we may want to do that with the adult one.
So if I go to “Done” on this and go to edit my own profile, that’s where we can go to the content rating… Oh, I got to enter my password. And once I’m in here, I can… Yeah, see it, it stops at TV-14, that’s as far as they go.
So I can set what my profile is allowed to watch, and then come back down here, and the profile PIN, if I really want to keep the kids out of my profile, I can set up my own profile PIN, a four-digit PIN, and when you enable that, you’ve got to put that in in order to get into that particular profile.
So that should pretty much do it on the premium streaming services, like Netflix and HBO Max and Hulu, that should take care of you. If you have another one that you’re paying for, something like Peacock or what have you, then you’re going to follow a very similar process, but what about the free ones? I’m going to just use Tubi as an example here, so if I click into Tubi, I’ve signed in, going to come right over here to my name and go to parental controls.
Now, the thing about this is, you’re not able to set up different profiles on the same account, and so when you do these parental controls, this is a blanket parental control, okay?
So little kids, older kids, teens, whatever, you’re only going to be able to set this once, and then Tubi will recognize that across devices on this account. So if I want to change that, I just have to put my password in and save it.
Now, how do you get around that? Well, it’s actually pretty simple. If I go up here to sign out, I simply… Well, okay, once I get back in, let’s just go ahead and put in some random info here, and then once I’m in here, I can go ahead and just register a new account.
So you register an account with a different email address, and then it’s effectively the same thing as having different profiles, and once you get in, you’ll be able to adjust that parental control for that particular profile, then if your kids, again, they’re watching on an iPad or what have you, you’ll be able to go in and just log in on the parentally-controlled profile.
All right, hopefully that was helpful, hopefully that gave you the answers you were looking for. Like I said, if I didn’t go over the app that you are going to be using, then just use this as a template, you should be able to find the settings, the parental controls, on the website or in the app that you are looking to use.
Anyway, good luck out there, let me know if you have any other questions or if there are any other parental control issues that I missed today, hit the comments, don’t forget to like and subscribe. Thanks for watching today, everybody, I’ll see you next time.