Since the pandemic, people have been staying indoors a lot more than before. Parents have to find new ways to occupy their children, which is an increasingly difficult task. Fortunately, today’s streaming services act as great distractions for your children.
You might be wondering what the best streaming services for your kids are: ones that will entertain your children, offer excellent parental controls and have shows and movies that you can enjoy while the kids aren’t around. Below are listed a few streaming services that offer hours of content for your children.
1. Disney Plus
Disney Plus is available for $7/mo. For that $7, you receive access to Disney’s vast catalog of shows and movies, much of it being family-friendly.
Your children can watch most Disney movies, from past classics like Steamboat Willie (1928) to the latest releases like Raya and the Last Dragon (2021). You can also watch popular animation and movie titles from the Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar franchises.
Both parents and children will be able to enjoy Disney Plus’s vast catalog. Disney Plus also offers a lot of educational content that can teach kids useful lessons.
If you see yourself streaming shows and movies often, you can sign up for Disney+’s 13$ bundle, which adds Hulu and ESPN to the subscription package.
Parental controls are crucial in protecting your kids from watching inappropriate content. Fortunately, Disney+ allows parents to create unique profiles for children. Said unique profiles limit what your kids can watch to G-rated content–no worries about your kid accidentally turning on The Mandalorian.
However, Disney Plus’s parental controls are relatively limited, probably due to most of the service’s content being family-friendly. Disney Plus’s parental controls help prevent your child from watching PG and PG13 content. However, it is easy for curious children to access another profile without this restriction.
Ease of Use
Disney knows that many children use Disney+ to watch their favorite shows and movies. As a result, Disney Plus’s UI is impeccable. They’re easy to navigate, what you want is always a click or two away, and there are plenty of accessibility options available.
2. HBO Max
Launched in 2020, HBO Max features content from HBO’s expansive library. HBO’s library is not very child-friendly, but adults can find value in a subscription. From Cartoon Network shows to Studio Ghibli movies, HBO Max’s $15 quickly becomes worth it, and there is a free 7-day trial if you want to see it for yourself.
While most of its content is adult-oriented, HBO Max does contain some excellent family-friendly content. The Lego Movie, all the Sesame Street seasons, and the Harry Potter series. HBO Max also comes with a Kids and Family section that lets you filter content according to age groups, ranging from 2-to-5, 6-to-9, 10-to-12, and 13+.
Parents can center an HBO profile around their children; all a parent needs to do is enter their child’s date of birth. From there, you can customize your child’s profile, limit what they can watch via age ratings, and prevent kids from switching to an adult profile by setting a PIN on adult profiles.,
Ease of Use
HBO Max has plenty of content to watch, though finding said content can be difficult. HBO feels slow to navigate, and it can be hard to find exactly what you want to watch. Also, it doesn’t offer much in the way of settings. However, it’s still completely usable.
Starting at $9/mo, Netflix is a good choice for parents and children alike. Netflix is the biggest streaming service available and possesses a large catalog no matter what country you’re in (though Netflix’s catalog does change depending on the country). Generally, its library ranges between four thousand to six thousand titles. By the end of 2020, Netflix USA was estimated to have around 5,800 TV and movie titles.
But don’t worry: out of those 5,800 shows and movies, plenty of them are suitable for kids. Toddlers will enjoy sing-along shows like The Wiggles and Little Baby Bum, while older children will get a kick out of shows like The Magic School Bus and Ask the Storybots. Netflix also has plenty of content for preteens, from anime to sitcoms.
Netflix also has shows based on popular children’s books like The Cat in The Hat, Llama Llama, and Room on the Broom. Netflix’s Kid section showcases tons of quality shows and movies that kids will enjoy, from Lego Ninjago to My Little Pony.
Netflix has customizable parental controls. These controls allow you to set up separate children’s profiles and restrict what they can watch via age ratings. You can use a PIN to access the profiles if you want and create a Restricted Titles list for each profile, limiting what your kids can watch even further. You can also monitor your children’s activity on Netflix, but only via a web browser, not the app.
Ease of Use
Netflix uses a simple, clean UI that makes navigating as easy as ever. Kids won’t find trouble looking for the next episode of their favorite show, nor will they have a hard time searching for a new show. Netflix also has plenty of accessibility options available. Simply put, Netflix is a simple service with a fantastic UI and UX.
4. Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video costs $9/mo and offers a free 30-day trial period. However, existing Amazon Prime members can subscribe to the service for free, as Prime Video access is grouped in with the regular Prime subscription.
Amazon Prime Video has the largest streaming library, currently sitting at nearly 13,000 titles! Some titles are children-friendly titles, from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood to Dora the Explorer to SpongeBob SquarePants.
Amazon out-does Netflix when it comes to animations of popular children’s books, with stellar additions such as Busytown Mysteries, Pete the Cat and Clifford the Big Red Dog, and stand-alone animations such as Strega Nona, The Gruffalo, The Snowy Day, Gorilla, Goodnight, and more.
You can set up your viewing profiles to require a PIN, keeping your children away from potentially inappropriate content. Like other streaming services, you can also set a “Kids Profile” that will automatically limit available content to shows and movies deemed appropriate for kids 12 and under. As with Netflix, you can set general restrictions that range from G-rated (general) content all the way to PG13 and TV14 (teen).
Ease of Use
Amazon Prime Video does not offer much in terms of UI. It focuses on a more minimalist approach, and while not as eye-catching as other streaming services, this approach means that it is easy for people to navigate the menus. However, kids could get confused if left with the remote. Amazon does a good job providing users with a decent array of accessibility options as well.
Starting at $6/mo (with a free 7-day trial), Hulu has the least amount of original kids’ programs. However, it does have a lot of reality shows, competitive game shows, and sitcoms.
Hulu hosts tons of cartoons, however, both new and old. From classic cartoons like Looney Tunes to modern ones like Teen Titans Go!, Hulu has a lot to offer for kids and nostalgic parents alike. It also offers numerous family movies. Hulu’s pricing depends on whether you opt for a subscription that includes commercials (the $6 option) or one without any commercials $12 per month). You can also cut the cord and stream Hulu +Live TV ($55 per month), which comes with 65 channels.
You can create individual profiles for your children and set content restrictions within them. For example, you can automatically restrict viewing options to content from Hulu’s kid section, the Kids Hub. You cannot restrict shows individually on an adult profile, but you can adjust the age limit settings for the whole account.
Ease of Use
Hulu’s menus and overall navigation can be considered “ok.” Navigating is simple enough, though it can be quite confusing. However, Hulu does offer enough in terms of accessibility options that navigation isn’t so bad.
Tips for your children’s online safety
To protect your children while they stream content, here are a few tips.
● Install a VPN
A VPN, also known as a Virtual Private Network, can come in handy while streaming shows. A VPN allows you to bypass any geo-restrictions and watch the show you like no matter where you are. As mentioned above, some streaming services like Netflix have content that is only available in certain countries.
If you go on vacation to a different country, and you still wish to stream content from your tablet or laptop as if you were back home, install a VPN for Netflix. Or if you want more programs for your children, you can also use the app to unlock the content from another region’s library.
● Strict parental controls
As mentioned when going over each streaming service, they all have parental control features. You do not want your children to be exposed to adult and age-inappropriate content. And the best thing to do is to ensure the streaming service you want to subscribe to has strict parental control options.
Ensure that parental controls include creating age-specific profiles that require a PIN to access. Some streaming services will even let you monitor your children’s activity via a web browser client.
● Get appropriate devices
To prevent your children from damaging your devices, get them their own personal devices. Look for inexpensive tablets that they can use exclusively for streaming and playing games. Make sure that you monitor what your children do on these devices as well as set up parental controls on the device
The pandemic has been hard for everyone, especially parents. Fortunately, the Internet has made life easier since you can stream shows and movies to keep your children entertained. Choose a streaming service that comes with a decent list of parental controls, tons of content for your kids to binge, and can be viewed anywhere.