Netflix is now rolling out a series of changes to profile management, adding new parental locking mechanisms and restrictions for kids' profiles. Each of the new settings is reportedly available on desktop platforms, on the website, and in the mobile app. But the biggest of the new changes for parents is undoubtedly going to be the new title locking mechanism and rating restrictions.
The first new change lets users effectively age-gate titles shown on an account that's been marked as a child's account. Found in the profile editing UI, or in “Profile and Parental Controls” in account settings online, that's showcased as selectable bubbles on a slider. Parents can select a rating they're comfortable with for their kids.
In the US, that's ranging from TV-Y to NC-17 but Netflix indicates its new parental controls are region-specific. So parents in any region should see a rating system they're familiar with.
Conversely, there's also a new entry box for searching out specific titles or shows on that page. The box, found at the bottom of the profile editing UI and labeled "Title Restrictions," allows parents to find specific titles. That will prove useful for restricting access to shows or movies that parents don't want their kids watching. That's regardless of a title's age rating.
Users simply need to search out the title of the content and then select it. It will then appear as a list, with an 'x'- icon for unblocking the media from viewing. Once added, the more granular control ensures that blocked titles don't appear anywhere when logged in with that user's profile.
Netflix parental controls enable pin locking to reinforce restrictions
Each of the new parental locking and restrictions tools in Netflix stacks atop other changes. For instance, parents can now view the watch history for profiles and turn off auto-play features to help manage watch times. The latter feature may prove invaluable for parents who find that their kids are just sitting around watching episode after episode of a series, for example.
However, Netflix has packed in at least one more new parental setting that will make the entire experience better. Now, parents can lock-down profiles behind a 4-digit PIN. The protective measure can be adjusted so that each profile has its own individual PIN. A setting also exists to ensure that a given PIN must be entered in order to create a new profile.
So, not only can children on a Netflix account no longer access other profiles — bypassing restrictions and locking mechanisms. They will also be incapable of creating a new profile in order to bypass those on the web or in the many Netflix apps.
These arrive just in time for peak streaming
Netflix's new child profile account restrictions arrive just in time for parents. More users than ever are streaming more than ever too.
That's chiefly thanks to guidelines for sheltering in place, set by world governments and continuing into the foreseeable future. But it also comes down to a continuing cord-cutting trend over the past several months and years. Namely, the media consumption market has shifted toward streaming over that period. So cord-cutter-friendly streaming devices are ubiquitous and Netflix remains the most commonly used service for those.
The new restrictions give parents a new set of tools to keep their families safe to go along with that.