• Netflix Parental Controls Bleg

    Ok, people. Show me how smart you are.

    I recently walked into Costco and made an impulse purchase of a new Vizio HDTV. The thing is amazing, and has Netflix built in, along with wifi. The remote even has a built in keyboard.

    It didn’t take my middle child (who shares my savvy with techy things) long to figure out how to use it. Now he’s the new Netflix king, and loves to call up all kinds of movies for his older brother and younger sister.

    Being a responsible parent, I need to lock this down. If I leave him to his own devices, natural curiosity will have him seeing all kinds of inappropriate things.

    Which brings me to my question. Am I missing something, or do parental controls on Netflix stink?

    I can set the overall level of appropriate movies on the Netflix site. However, if I set it to – say – PG, then anything above that level is simply blocked. There’s no password override. This means that I can’t even watch a PG-13 movie at night if I want to.

    It appears that I can change the appropriate level on the Netflix site again, but it can take up to 8 hours to take effect. So it’s not like I can switch it on the fly for a few hours.

    Is there some way to handle this? Ideally, I’d like to have different profiles with different levels of acceptability, but it doesn’t appear Netflix allows that for streaming. Any other solutions?

    • You might look into InstantWatcher.com. They have a premium subscription that allows sub-users – specifically for parents with children who want to use their Netflix account.

      • Best thing to do here is to contact netflix and say this is an option i want. the more people looking for this feature the more likely they are to get it implemented sooner rather then later.

    • “This means that I can’t even watch a PG-13 movie at night if I want to.”

      PG-13? Are you going to stick with that story?

      • Thats right I only watch pg13 at night while the kiddos are asleep, that explains where babies come from

        • How do I control the ratings of movies? I’ve looked all over for how to block “R” rated movies and no luck. Also, what about genre? We have no need for some such as “horror” in our home. Thank you for your help!

    • You don’t need the InstantWatcher program.

      Log into Netflix, click “Your Account & Help”

      Under Preferences select “Account Profiles”

      Select “Add Profile”

      When you create a profile for your child you can set the “Maturity level” to the highest allowed Rating.

      Really the only issue is whether your TV has the easy ability to have separate profiles so that your TV doesn’t auto log you in to Netflix.

      • Not helpful in his case. Note the NOTE.
        1. Click the “Create a Profile” button below.
        2. Set up a profile for a family member and set parental controls.
        3. Assign how many DVDs the Profile may have out at a time.
        4.Sign in to the new Profile and start adding movies!
        NOTE – Profile accounts are not able to access Watch Instantly.

    • 1) I don’t think InstantWatcher will work on other devices (like my TV or the Wii)

      2) I use PG-13 to show how crazy this is. For instance, it refused me an episode of The Office last night.

      3) I believe profiles only work for DVD requests, not instant streaming. Unless I am incorrect, only the main account can be used for devices like the TV and Wii.


    • Much like “health care systems”, program and movie ratings are vastly different between the US and Canada. Films rated even as strictly as R in the US are often shown in Canada with a rating of PG.

      Which leads me to ask…

      1. Exactly how inappropriate are these programs/movies, and what is the expected effect upon the kids, and
      2. Is just telling your kids to not download/view certain (or certain types of) programs/movies?

      • you obviously don’t have children…

      • R movies in America come complete with male and female nudity, as well as very bad language and extremely raunchy material. I’m very afraid if Canada rates everything in this list as “PG.”

    • Ken Hamer

      1) Yes, there is a difference if I restrict them to PG

      2) They are little, not evil, but will eventually be tempted into watching something inappropriate. I have to make that as difficult as I can.

    • There’s no workaround. I’ve looked into it many, many times. The easiest way for Netflix to solve this problem would be to allow other profiles to access Watch Instantly. The most effective way to make this happen would be to call Netflix customer service and demand it.

    • Finally! Someone else is noticing this. A year ago, when we first started using Netflix, my wife and I were able to go online and set our parental controls at pg13 and then override that setting with our password, but only from our Netflix account online. This made it so that the kids couldn’t get on Netflix and watch rated R movies, but after they went to bed we could put in our password and watch what we wanted to. Then, one evening last fall, I noticed that we were no longer able to do so. Even when we entered our password, we could not watch a rated R movie; instead, we now had to completely turn off parental controls which takes up to 24 hrs. to update on your queue and then another 24 hrs. to update again when you turn it back on, which made this a nonviable option. I called Netflix and asked them what was going on, and they said that they had made some “improvements” to to the parental control system. So, Netflix’s idea of improving parental controls is to make it so we have to shut off the parental controls for up to two days in order for us as parents watch anything that we don’t want our kids watching. These guys need a brains enema. Geez. I no longer use Netflix and won’t use them again until they learn how to think above the level of a 4th grader when it comes to parental controls.

    • Still having this SAME problem here. I would think this would be an easy bit to fix, but apparently not.

      I can’t even beat this by subscribing to a second account for the kids to use since the devices we use for instant queue movies all store the account credentials!

    • YES!! I cannot believe Netflix does not have password override. Stupid. Simply stupid.

    • I’m looking into purchasing a blu-ray player, not because I want to watch blu-rays, rather I want to stream netflix on the tv. The laptop hooked to the tv is getting to be a hassle and I really just want a remote and to be able to surf the web and chat while I watch (without having to lay on the floor up close to the tv). :p
      Thank you for this post and all these comments that are sadly confirming what I’ve been discovering the last couple of days.
      Netflix is really missing the mark here. I was hoping, thinking, planning that my kids could have their netflix profile for their streaming and that I could simply login to my profile when I want to watch from my queue. The idea that there is only one profile allowed for streaming is unrealistic for families.
      I had the two account idea also… and if the devices really make it hard to impossible to change logins, then what?
      Seems I’ll have to figure this out. What am I supposed to do? Keep the player locked up when I’m not around so the kids can’t watch what they’re not supposed to? *shakes head* sooo disappointing

    • Hi Folks – I know it may not be an option for everyone, but the one device that really provides some parental controls with Netflix AND allows password override is the Xbox 360. When you use Netflix via the Xbox, it recognizes the parental controls you have set up universally for content for the Xbox. So this means anything with a rating higher than what you have set will still show up in Netflix browsing, but the cover images are greyed out and if you click on something your are prompted for your password. With this in place, we let our kids roam freely in Netflix on Xbox.

      The one catch here is with “unrated” content. Much of the great children’s content on Netflix is unrated, but also there are some bad things (e.g. American Pie, Directors Cut) that are also unrated. So I have set unrated content to be disallowed, but that means if I want to let my kids watch Jim Hensons Storyteller, I have to enter the passcode for them every time…

      • Thanks for the reply about x-box 360. My 12-year old son has one in his room and I got nervous when I couldn’t set his parental controls different that the main tv. I just set them on the x-box console and it worked like a charm. Now I can rest easy.

    • The Netflix “parental controls” are worthless, because they control the parent, not just the kids. That’s STUPID. Not to mention that they don’t work well to begin with.

      Netflix also shows everybody using Netflix what was recently watched, with no way to turn it off or delete specific titles. So if Mom & Dad watch a steamy movie one night, it will be the first thing the kids see when they start Netflix the next day. That’s INCREDIBLY STUPID.

      If I was an executive at Dish Network (the new owners of Blockbuster), I would push this as the first point of attack at one of Netflix’s major weaknesses. Finally competing on streaming content is an obvious step, but they could make major inroads by doing that and also leveraging Blockbuster’s reputation as a family friendly company.

    • We are living in a new age and if Netflix wants to survive they need to fix this parental control.

      I use the Roku boxes which I love so I purchased one for my grandchildren who live with me so that I could turn off cable and they could watch there movies/cartoons. Well I’ve had the Roku box unpacked for two months now because I couldn’t find a way to setup parental control so that the kiddies couldn’t get to R Rated movies on Netflix. There’s no way to do it. The profile seems a perfect way to do this but it isn’t for watching instant movies.

      What’s up Netflix? Let’s get this fixed I like Netflix but I will go somewhere else if they don’t get this fixed.

    • I dropped Netflix because of POOR/no parental controls. This service is not a good choice for families.

    • Best thing to do here is to contact netflix and say this is an option i want. the more people looking for this feature the more likely they are to get it implemented sooner rather then later.

      Edit: tried to get this posted on main thread, not the first comment.

      • Apparently they have parental controls on Wii and XBox but dont care about ipad or other devices. The customer service rep’s attitude amounted to “tough shit. Change it on the website each time or get another account because we have over 500 devices to program for nd can’t be bothered because you use an ipad”

    • While not perfect I was able to accomplish at least a decent parental control setup. I created two profiles (Instant and DVD) the instant has a G and below setting and the DVD has an All Movies setting, I also assigned all my DVD checkouts to the DVD profile. My kids only use instant watching so they are limited to G and below and my wife and I are able to add anything to the queue on DVD profile.

      This does limit the instant queue to G and below for anyone but that is the price we pay right now until Netflix actually works through how to set up a parental control system.

    • When will Netflix institute flexible parental controls???? I don’t get it, they’re getting so much business and are the biggest fish in the streaming/dvd rental pond. Why do they put out an ipad app and don’t include something as simple as parental controls? Ditto for the Tivo app. There has to be a GOOD reason because adding the software functionality to password protect certain rated movies/shows is EASY.

    • The problem I have run into is that the parental controls only block movies, not TV shows. So if I want to block TV-Y7 from my 3 year old, I can’t. No matter what setting I put it on. Also, some of his favorite movies are PG but if I allow PG, movies such as Poltergeist, etc. are allowed. UNACCEPTABLE!!!

    • Just signed up one month trial. Can’t believe the poor parental control “feature” on Netflix.

      How hard would it be to allow the parents create a password? Your programmer/developer or whoever made the decision of this kinda parental control sucks!

      Oh well, will cancel in one month if they don’t fix it.

    • I just got off the phone with NetFlix. I too dislike their parental controls. They did give me a workaround that I find acceptable though a more granular parental controls system would be preferable.

      Once you have parental controls set to PG-13 and under, for example, search for a show you or your kids want to watch that is perhaps TV-14 rated and therefore excluded.

      Then hold your mouse over the “Play|Discs” button and the “Add to Instant Queue” button/link appears just above it. Click that. Enter your account password and the show will be added to the Instant Queue and your kids can then watch it.

      This does not solve the problem of wanting to watch an R rated movie with a password override without exposing your kids to the movie or the fact that you watched it.

      I told the customer service person that this was an acceptable workaround for now but that their parental controls still suck major big time and that they need to make the controls more granular and provide industry standard override control.

    • I had my hopes up with Tyler’s work around. I was able to add an unrated show to my instant queue but when I went to play it I still received the message that it exceeded the rating limit. I am ready to cancel my subscription to Netflix.

    • I finally just set my controls to PG and then spent the next hour or so searching for movies/shows that I don’t want my son watching and rated them “not interested”. I also rated all suggestions related to those shows as “not interested”. Took a little while but it is working for now. I should nit have had to go through that much trouble.

    • I tried Tyler’s work around. Doesn’t work. I was able to add the movies that exceeded my parental levels into my queue using his workaround but when I went to play them on my blu-ray player, I got the message “This title cannot be played as it exceeds the parental level set for your account.”

      Please Netflix, get a clue or I’m simply done!

    • I am fed up with the useless parental controls on Netflix. I’ve really tried to love Netflix, my four children certainly love to use it…. however it keeps dropping my settings from PG to suddenly including everything, They will go from watching Bob The Builder to suddenly seeing Rated R movies on the selections screen. We are dropping Netflix until they make the parental controls top notch.

      Additionally, I don’t want them to be able to see any other selections besides what would be in Children’s selections. I’d also like to be able to set up multiple profiles with varied rating controls for streaming.
      Come on Netflix! You’re making me pay more and not fixing our issues.

    • I just cancelled Netflix, funny part is there’s no “software lack of feature” or “Parental control sucks” in the cancelling reason check list

    • The way that I dealt with the poor parental controls is that I alone knew the password for Netflix. I was put in the position of the “bad guy” in our house, because I had to debate, argue about every movie. It turned out that my husband let the kids watch whatever they wanted, and I could keep my house clean while I slept or when my husband was not home. If we could have had the discussion ONCE, then we could have agreed on how strict to make the movie watching. But we had to have the “Can we watch this movie?” discussion every time. I think it ruined my family, and makes me as the mother forever disliked as the one who does not like fun. I cried a lot and woke up every morning wondering how to keep my house sweet. Netflix seemed to be my only option to try to keep my house as clean as I could, because if we didn’t have it, they would have spent lots of money buying “whatever” movies or going to rent movies at the local place which has NO good movies. ~ On the other hand, I really do appreciate that I was able to find maybe 200 good movies on Netflix. I just wish that you had complicated parental controls.

    • C’mon Netflix! This is unacceptable! In the days of modern parental controls, you MUST have something in place to help parents regulate what ratings kids are able to watch.

      I watch Netflix on my HTPC running Windows Media Center via an add-in. When I set the Parental Controls to PG-13 and under, NO movies rated above that were available to browse. Period. There was no password override or any way to log my kid(s) into their own sub-account.

      I mean, really? How is it that this ESSENTIAL feature of Netflix has been omitted???

      It shouldn’t be that difficult…

    • I just spoke with Netflix, now when you change the Parental Control it happens instantly.

    • Ok everyone who sees this thread you need to start blasting Netflix with phone calls, Twitter twits, and Facebook posts. They listen but only if they think a lot of customers want something. Obviously, they are loosing business because of bad/no real parental controls.

      As a parent, I too need the control. My sons are good but they are too young to fully censor themselves and when I watch a gory movie I sure as HECK do not want it showing up in my recently watched right next to their favorite kids show. THIS shows a complete lack of interest on Netflix to support us controlling what content our children view. Grrrrr!!! I love everything else that Netflix is doing but just Grrrrrr!!!!

      So get on Twitter and Facebook and find Netflix and tell your friends to do the same. If you have time call them too but I think the posts will do more. Let’s get this going – I’ve already hit Facebook myself – why not go comment on my thread or start a new one.

    • Just today I decided its time to set the parental controls for our Netflix account. Our daughter is becoming more capable and curious and has begun to click on movies that the adults have watched and are in the recently watched queue. Since I couldn’t find info on the Netflix site explaining exactly how the controls worked, I began searching the web. I am shocked that I can’t set the controls then override them with a password. How hard would this be to set up? For now I will be very diligent in making sure that our daughter is watching appropriate movies, however if the parental controls aren’t upgraded soon, we will be forced to find other ways to stream movies / shows to our TV.

    • How annoying. We have a family of four young children. Ours is always set to PG-13 and I have to ask them not to scroll down to see the preview pictures. It’s beyond me that they haven’t fixed this yet.

    • This is ridiculous! When is Netflix going to get with the program? This has been a very common issue/complaint for going on a year now…

      C’mon Netflix! You have an OK product but this problem keeps it from being great. By not fixing this, you are telling us that what our kids may watch is not important enough to worry about.

      Give us sub-accounts, please! The parents and kids in paying Netflix families NEED this!

    • I had a similar problem. I have a developmentally disabled 17 year old who is more like a six year old. Some PG movies and PG 13 movies are very appropriate. However, she found a movie on the Netflix using Roku that is rated “PG” but is full of nudity and sex. It is called Vampire Circus. When I called Netflix, they told me to change my parental controls to G and below. First of all, when I did that, I could not even watch PBS documentaries anymore or most of the new Disney movies. Secondly, my daughter got VERY frustrated because many of her favorite kid movies are PG and she could no longer watch them. When I called Netflix, the man was VERY nasty with me and told me I should be supervising my child and that the problem is with the ratings system and there is nothing they can do about it. I do NOT want to have to log into my computer and wait 8 hours to watch a Cary Grant movies because it is “not rated”. This is RIDICULOUS! When I asked to speak with a supervisor I was denied. Who do we call to get a password that we can use on the Roku to approve each movie as our kids (or ourselves) want to watch it?

    • We have three Roku boxes in the house and so far our kids are not watching anything that we haven’t pointed them toward in the first place. However, I can see that changing as they grow older. The only solution I can come up with for this is disabling the browse and search feature in the Roku settings menu. This will revert the box back to only showing your instant watch queue so that they can only see the shows that you have added to the queue for them. At night when the kids go to bed you can go back into the settings and re-enable the browse and search feature so that you can watch whatever you want (just remember to disable it again after you watch your shows). Until Netflix comes up with a better solution, this is the best we can do.

    • Good idea, but…..it can be easier then that. Using tech speak, Netflix can implement this server side, on their end, and require carriers like Roku and Tivo to build in the SIMPLE functionality to prompt for a password when viewers request a movie at or above a certain rating. So if you have Roku, and request anything above a PG movie you have to enter a password.

      This is functionality that could be turned on or off via Netflix so people would only opt in if they wanted.

      In the scheme of things, this is a very simple feature to build in. Bottom line is that Netflix just doesn’t feel like doing it. I suspect its symbolic of some of the other business blunders Netflix has made recently.

    • Just started a 30-day trial of Netflix. Coming from Vudu, the menus, searching, and parental controls on Netflix are a joke compared to Vudu’s U.I. and controls. I can’t believe Netflix is so popular with families given this issue. Granted, it’s cheap and “unlimited” (watch those bandwidth caps) for not-so-current programming, but not practical for families.

      Also, the new “Just for Kids” tab is a joke too. Despite it not even being available yet on PS3, it is so easy to navigate past on the wii with a few clicks.

      I don’t leave my kids unattended with free reign at the TV, but it would be nice to know that I could run to the bathroom and not worry about junior accidentally clicking an inappropriate title.

    • I just started a one month free trial with netflix but it looks like I will be cancelling it. I streamed it through the Wii and expected to have to enter my password for each movie so that I could control what my kiddos watch but no such luck – they are completely free-range in r rated land. That won’t work for my family so one less customer due to weak parental control.

    • I’m from the UK and just tried netflix. I won’t be joining after the month trial because the parental and rating system sucks (there is no ‘account profile’ settings in my netflix account). Same goes for history, you should be able to remove it.

      The ratings are a bit odd too. We have no concept of G here, but half the TV programmes are G. I rang support and they said ‘guidance’ and was equivalent to 15. But reading above G sounds more like 12A (anyone can watch it if parent approves). But tv programmes like The Inbetweeners (centred on 4 young adults talking about and having sex), Shameless (centred on deprived neighbourhood with drugs, violence and a fair bit of sex) were rated as G.

    • I’m facing the same problem with Netflix. Recently I noticed my boyfriends little brother had be watching R rated movies when no one was home through the gameing system. The parental control needs to improve because now my only option is to cancel the account so that I know it won’t happen again. Kids have natural curiosity. A 12 year old is smart enough to go behind your back and I understand his curiosity but the material on some movies is years beyond his understanding. I really would like a parental control.

    • Same complaint. Need controls with password override. Anybody have any updates on this?

    • Does anyone think that Netflix reads these posts? Doubt it…

      Your best bet is to CALL them and complain directly. I have called them about this issue three times myself. Until they offer a solution, they will tell you that they can’t change the way streaming accounts are set up, but they log the calls. If enough customers complain, eventually they will notice…

      So, CALL Netflix and complain… If everyone who has posted here CALLS them, we have a much better chance of them taking action!

      The number for Netflix Customer Service is 1-866-579-7172

    • I just joined and now reading this. I guess my 1st month if free. 2 bad for them I won’t be giving them any more business, due to the fact of the parental control issue. Such BullShit!

    • Hi – thanks for all this feedback I just started addressing this tonight.
      You are all so helpful- I have a 6 and 7 yr old myself.

      per your advice I phoned netflix and complained. if you phone them from the account itself they give you a code that makes the call happen faster. the guy answering said he has 2 nieces the same age as my kids and wants netflix (his employer) to make it so that you can set … e.g. to G movies, than you have to enter a secret code for anything else. in short, he agreed completely.

      He said alot of people are phoning. he notates each time and the note gets sent to higher ups. i also asked him to have them email me a response.

      so keep phoning!

      The link at the top is something I just found where you pay (seems like not much at all) to get controls on netflix. I have not had time to evaluate this, but take a look…


    • Here’s a good fix for Vizio users to log out of the Vizio widget that I found here: http://web.archive.org/web/20141221162311/http://www.chacha.com:80/question/how-do-i-log-out-of-netflix-on-vizio-netflix-widget.

      (Btw I laughed when I read this & thought it was for sure somebody being funny. I almost didn’t even try it. But it seriously works!)

      To log out of the Netflix widget through Vizio, use the following arrow pattern on your Vizio remote while in Netflix; Up,Up,down,down,left,right,left,right,up,up,up,up. It will ask if you want to deactivate that account. Accept to deactivate, then, when you’re ready, log back into the Netflix widget & you will get the code to log in. ChaCha!

      Then if the grownups want to watch a show at night or put a show on for the kids during the day you can sign in instantly & watch the shows. It would be much better if Netflix would just set up good parental controls, but until they do I’ll be using this trick.

    • What, they didn’t have a B and A on the remote to complete the Konami code?

      I, too, am in disbelief at how bad their “attempt” at controls is. This problem was solved conceptually decades ago, how can this still be an issue?

    • I have Netflix enabled for the PS3.
      The username and password is known only to me and my spouse
      We have a router and cable modem

      Something that I do that helps is the following:

      Restrict the PS3s MAC address to only allow internet access at certain times. During the school year weekdays it’s set to disable internet access from 9pm to 4pm and 9pm to 7am on weekends. I set similar settings for their ipods and PCs.

      Set the PS3 to require a password for all DVD, Blu-Ray, and internet access.

      Set the Netflix restriction level to ‘G’ or below

      Not perfect, but it does control the access after we go to bed or if, heaven forbid, they skip school or are sick.

    • New “PROFILES” rolled out August 1st: Thought our parental control problems were finally addressed! Don’t get excited!

      Quote: “…Yellin described Netflix’s approach of having a separate kids area without a lock as “a well-lit cul-de-sac” that makes it easy to find kids-appropriate content without restricting access. “We don’t put up any high fences,” he said.”

      Here’s a thought: WHY NOT LET PARENTS DECIDE WHERE AND HOW HIGH THE FENCE SHOULD BE? As a parent I find this attitude down right arrogant bordering on boorish. Does Netflix not hire anyone who is a parent to work on their software? Because anyone who is a parent gets this, stupid. I can see how if you’re not a parent you would not understand, none of us did till we had children!!!! I canceled my account tonight. Profiles!!! What a joke!

    • Wow, what a pathetic joke. Profiles have the same password as the master account… There is no way to limit one account and not the others. Netflix, wtf? Why bother?