Every parent has been there. You’re trying to get something done like cooking dinner, or are on the phone with the insurance company trying to figure out why your premiums went up, or you’re just plain exhausted. So you do what you know will entertain your kids and keep them out of your hair – turn on Netflix. We’re all guilty of it, but how much is too much? Where is the line when it comes to excessive Netflix watching? If you’re worried that your kids are happier adding shows to their watch list than engaging in other activities, we’re here to help. Here is some advice on what to do when excessive Netflix watching becomes a problem:
Netflix Parental Controls
First things first. If you haven’t already, set your parental controls on Netflix to make sure that your kids are only watching shows that are age-appropriate. It’s easy to get busy doing something on the other end of the house instead of monitoring what your kids are watching. And this part is really simple. Log onto Netflix from your computer. Look for your account name in the right hand corner along with an arrow. Click there, and go to “Manage Profiles.” From here, you can create a separate profile for your kids (if you tend to watch non-kids shows), or you can change your settings altogether to either “little kids” or “older kids.” This means that only shows that are rated for kids will show up as options. If your child happens to end up searching and finding an adult show, it won’t actually play thanks to these controls.
OK, so now you have the controls figured out, but how do you get your kids to do something besides watching Netflix when you can’t be there to entertain them? Here are some realistic ideas that shouldn’t create a huge mess to try the next time you need an insta-sitter so you can take care of something time-sensitive. Be sure to bring these ideas up to your child ahead of time so your child can turn to them without needing your help or explanation:
For younger kids, Halloween’s almost here, and that means that the after Halloween sales are also almost here. This is the perfect time of year to stock up on costumes for cheap that align with your child’s TV and movie interests.
Encourage your child to dress up and act out scenes from his/her favorite TV show or movie. If you have more than one child, make sure to get costumes that go together so they can have fun playing out scenes together. For added fun (and a few extra minutes of play time) find some accessories that go with the costumes.
Keep boxes for on-going crafts
This one can be as messy or clean as you want it to be, and it can also be TV or movie themed to get your child’s interest. Think of something that your child can make that will be fun, use his/her imagination, and can be done quietly and without your help. If you can’t think of anything specific, find a cardboard box, some markers, and some stickers and let your child use his/her imagination. This is a deceptively simple concept that can actually entertain a younger child for hours. (So much for buying whatever expensive item was in that cardboard box).
This one’s for the older kids who are sooooo “bored” all the time when they’re at home. If you haven’t already, assign a chore list and use it as a reward system when the weekly chores are all done. Then when you need to work or have them occupied for whatever reason, they can simply turn to the chart and start cleaning, organizing, or doing whatever else you want them to do in exchange for a reasonable reward.
How to keep your child entertained without TV can sometimes be a difficult task, especially if you’re regularly distracted by daily chores, phone calls, and work. And while it isn’t realistic, or even necessary, to cut TV watching out altogether, it is important to make sure your child is using his/her imagination and getting enough physical activity everyday.
Options for Netflix Parental Controls
Keep in mind, that while your keep-busy activities all this sound good, most kids and teens do NOT watch Netflix on a television via a ROKU, or built-in Netflix app on the TV. Most are able to seamlessly stream and watch their shows on their iPads and smartphones. So while they are upstairs doing “homework”, they may actually be watching Glee for the 100th time! You have options there as well so please take advantage of them.
Try to use a reliable mobile parental control like Netsanity on your child’s mobile devices (Apple and Android). Their Appblocker feature will allow you to block movie steaming apps like Netflix, Hulu and many others with just a click! Think of these ideas as a starting point, and talk to your child about what else she/he can do instead of watching Netflix on TV. Sometimes just talking about the problem can be the first step towards finding a meaningful, fun solution that will make everyone happy. Except maybe Netflix!
Remember when the lucky kids got a TV in their bedroom?
Back in the day, all the way back to 2010 😉 , there was something called traditional Television. Some of the cool folks called it TV for short [Howl!]. It was kind of cool, you could press a remote and watch shows and movies. Of course you had to wait for them to air and then you could even record them.
Ahh, it is nice to reminisce!
Well, those days are over and a new generation of tools and technology is here and more are on the way. There is no need for fancy Plasma TV’s hanging on the wall for those ancient parents in their late 30s and 40s to watch. Sure, the Superbowl is fun to see on the big screen and curling up with popcorn on the weekends with the family is always nice, but now when your kids or teens want to watch what they want in their bedroom, bathroom, porch, or garage, it is now easier than ever.
Thanks to Samsung Galaxies and Apple with their super groovy iPad series, entertainment now comes to you, where you are – and more specifically, your kids.
With 24/7/365 access to Netflix, HBO GO, Amazon, Hulu, and a whole host of other entertainment apps, parents need to be more diligent in their efforts to control access.
88% of kids and teens access internet content via their mobile devices and apps. The days of a 30 pound desktop in the kitchen are long gone. Also, having a traditional TV in their room is approaching the same fate of the woolly mammoth. More and more households are cutting the cord to traditional telephone service, cable, and now even satellite.
Video on demand and streaming content is where it’s at. Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, and others, with their ever growing clouds, are impacting and changing the way we access entertainment and content.
Here are some stats that may surprise you:
- Netflix has 57+ Million subscribers with almost 40 million in the US
- Netflix users watch over 1 Billion hours per month of content
- Hulu now has over 6 million subscribers and growing
- Netflix and Hulu are starting to develop and create original content that is increasing viewership and at the same time reducing the need to watch traditional cable/satellite content
- 50% of Hulu users stream on mobile devices, including the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android devices, and other tablets
- A study found 88% of Netflix users reported watching three or more episodes of a TV show in a single day, and 45% said they watch original series on streaming services, such as Netflix’s Emmy-nominated House of Cards.
Protecting children and teens from content, binge watching, and other side effects is becoming more and more of an issue. Since parents cant be with their children 24/7 and mirror their content, it is even more important to have parental controls as well as time controls. Parents can give kids access to their favorite shows, but make sure binge watching is restricted and complete access can be restricted when desired.
With Netsanity’s Timeblocker and Netblocker features, for example, parents can simply click one button and deny access instantly to these apps, or they can limit access based on a simple schedule. We make sure to have all the top entertainment apps available in our Appblocker feature, you can see the full list of apps you are able to block here. Parents who have children that watch Netflix, Hulu, and other media streaming services on their iPads, iPhones, or even the popular iPod touch devices can get some relief, knowing they can impart some controls. They have a free trial as well.
As always, and with any emerging technologies that children access, parents will still need to be vigilant – embedded parental controls on individual platforms are still poor – so having access at all will necessitate the need for oversight.
The latest iPads and the latest version of streaming services are excellent tools as well as a great convenience. Having measured access with some oversight is a great way to enjoy them without the overuse pitfalls.
Now, where did I put that weird cable box remote……..
Also published on Medium.