This story was originally published on March 15, 2021, and last updated on April 17, 2021.
As the years pass on, kids become more and more adept at using technology. It’s not surprising to find a toddler easily navigate a touch interface. Children are growing up with more technology around them. And there will come a time when your kids will be more proficient at using tech than you. But as they are growing up, it’ll be your job to help them navigate these gadgets and the services they can access.
Because of the pandemic, kids are most likely familiar with video conferencing tools. But that’s a different story. We want to focus on another entry-point here: entertainment services, like Netflix and YouTube.
This how-to won’t be a comprehensive look, but it’ll be a good jump-off point to make sure you can leave your kids alone on popular platforms without having to worry about what they’re consuming.
The ubiquitous Netflix streaming service will let you set up a kid’s profile to allow them to explore the service safely during their free time. Here’s how you can do it:
- Create a profile right from the Netflix.com web page. Check the Kids check box to make it a Kids’ profile.
- Access your Account page.
- Head to the Profile & Parental Controls options and locate your child’s profile.
- You can adjust the Playback settings to check or uncheck the Autoplay next episode in a series option on all devices.
- You can also tweak Viewing Restrictions. You’ll be required to enter your Netflix password to make this change.
- Once in this setting, you can set the maturity rating for the shows and movies viewable on your kid’s profile.
If you’re the primary account holder, you can also lock your profile and the other profiles with a four-digit PIN so your children can’t sneak into different accounts. You’ll need to re-enter your password to make changes to the Profile Lock section.
YouTube Kids is a separate app from the main app, so it’s much simpler to keep your child out of the main YouTube app. It’s available in many countries on the web via youtubekids.com or on smartphones and tablets running Android 4.1 or above or iOS 8 or above.
The app is accessible whether you sign in to your account or not. YouTube segregates the experience for Preschool (Ages 4 & under), Younger (Ages 5-7), and Older (Ages 8-12). You can create up to eight kid profiles.
Signing in or signing up for a Google account will give you additional parental controls, like Approved Content Only mode and blocking videos and channels. You can find out more information here.
In some regions, users can create an Amazon Household account for different profiles for family members. There are Teen and Child options, which parents can tweak the content sharing options via the Family Library.
Microsoft introduced a new Kids Mode for Edge built directly into the browser on Windows and macOS. It’s available through the Edge profile option, and it’ll lock kids into the Edge browser with access to 70 popular and approved kid sites as well as any website you want to add to that list.
Microsoft divided it into two age ranges: between five to eight years old and nine to 12 years old. It has the highest level of Edge’s tracking preventions and strict Bing SafeSearch to filter out adult text, videos, and images from searches. It restricts popular Windows keyboard shortcuts from working so kids can’t exit out. But the same shortcut restrictions aren’t available on macOS. An adult will need to enter their Windows or macOS credentials to exit the mode.
Spotify Kids is only available in select regions at the moment. It is available exclusively through those who subscribe to a Premium Family account. And it’s designed for kids ages 3+. There are hand-picked music and audio content on this standalone app. Of course, parents have control over what kids can or can’t listen to and any new feature that may appear on the app.
There’s a section in the app for younger kids or tweens who want to use TikTok, but it’s only available to US users. There are additional safety and privacy features here, including curated, clean videos and restrictions on interaction. Kids can’t comment, search, or post videos yet.
The nonprofit organization, Common Sense Media, is an excellent resource for parents who want to learn more about the different services kids are usually interested in or use. This page is a great starting point for your research.
UPDATE 1: 2021/04/17 5:21 P.M. GMT+8 BY NICOLE BATAC
Added information on Microsoft Edge’s new Kids Mode
What other services have kid-friendly features that we’ve missed? Or which ones are the ones you wish had the option? Let us know on social media!