How To Filter Movies for Kids
There are 2 ways to limit harmful content in movies kids watch:
- Parental Controls: blocks entire movies
- Filtering: skips just the scenes you don’t want kids to see
Back in the days of cable TV, parents could mute bad language with TV attachments, but if kids were present during an R-rated film, turning it off was the only option.
Today most of us watch movies on streaming platforms – Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others, where the only way to exclude bad content is to block entire movies not suitable for kids, even if there is only one questionable scene and the rest of the movie is good.
Enter VidAngel, a movie-filtering app. It will tame a movie rated R into a PG, so you can have a family movie night and not worry about kids being exposed to sex and violence.
VidAngel allows users to filter specific objectionable content or skip it altogether. You can customize your filters to exclude nudity, profanity, graphic violence, or blasphemy:
VidAngel works on multiple devices and has an interface similar to Netflix.
Not every streaming platform is compatible, but you have a choice of 15,000 movies and TV shows from content providers VidAngel works with (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+), with partnerships hopefully to expand in the future as Hollywood realizes people actually have children whose young minds we need to protect. It also filters movies on these paid channels via Amazon: Showtime, Starz, Paramount+, AMC+, Britbox, and PBS Masterpiece (separate subscription fee charged by Amazon for each channel).
Price $9.99 a month
Our work is all about finding screen time solutions that protect families, so we partnered with VidAngel to offer our readers a Free 14-day trial with code TECHDETOX. Cancel any time if you change your mind.
Allows up to 5 family profiles with different maturity ratings:
Don’t forget to lock parental profiles with a password kids do not know, to keep adult movies to adults only.
While you’re at it, turn off manipulative Autoplay to prevent binge-watching – for adult and kid profiles.
Amazon Prime Video
Profiles can be created and managed under Account > Profiles. Each family member profile can be enrolled in various Amazon services, including Prime Video.
When configuring Amazon parental controls, create a PIN that locks mature movies, so unless a parent unlocks the movie, it would not play:
YouTube belongs to Google, which manages its parental controls via Family Link. Family Link allows parents to create a profile for each child and manage YouTube maturity rating under Content restrictions > YouTube:
You can choose to limit YouTube to YouTube Kids for very young children, or set up content settings for regular YouTube. This only works if the child is signed in to YouTube with their profile, which unfortunately allows Google to track everything they watch.
Also, once a child turns 13, Google allows them to turn off parental controls. Go figure.
Content Monitoring Software
Bark content monitoring software helps keep kids safe by sending alerts to parents about potential issues, including YouTube videos.
Parents get alerts via email, text, or notifications when Bark detects potential risks. Monitors texts, email, YouTube, and 30+ apps and platforms. For example, when my kid watches a questionable YouTube video, I get an email alert like this:
Bark monitors for violence, sexual content, cyberbullying, weapons, drug/alcohol related content, online predators, depression, suicidal ideation and self-harm. We partnered with Bark to offer our readers a 20% off discount for the life of their account with promo TECHDETOX20: