3 ways to keep your kids safe as they binge-watch Netflix
During the greatly increased time at home we are experiencing during this pandemic, your family has no doubt been spending increased time streaming shows and movies. I’m also pretty sure that your kids and teenagers have been scrolling through the shows available to them on Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. and wanting to explore new movies and series. The problem is that some of the things they want to watch either are not appropriate, or they are shows that you haven’t seen, so you aren’t sure if they are ok for your family to watch. If that sounds like what’s happening at your house, I have three suggestions for you.
- Watch in advance everything your kids want to watch, and then have the remote ready to mute and/or skip inappropriate content. Ha! I know. Not exactly realistic, right? I’m thankful there are some good resources to help us in this area. I think some of the best ones are Plugged In an VidAngel.
- Plugged In. I’m guessing you’ve heard of this one. It’s a great resource by Focus on the Family that provides media reviews from a Christian perspective. It will outline positive, negative, spiritual and dangerous elements of the movie, show, or video game. My kids are now reading the Plugged-In review of a show before they even ask me if they can watch it or not!
- VidAngel. This is a great subscription service that you can connect to your Netflix or Amazon Prime accounts, and then filter out inappropriate content. They have hundreds of filters available, so you can cut out profanity, sexual references or acts, violence, etc. Sometimes it mutes the content, and other times it skips scenes all together. Some movies end up being quite short! Imagine watching “Saving Private Ryan” without any of the violence. It wouldn’t take very long!
My older two kids have always wanted to watch “The Office”, but Sara and I wouldn’t let them due to the language and inappropriate sexual references and jokes. But with VidAngel, they are watching the entire series and loving it. They even joke about how short some episodes are.
VidAngel is a paid subscription service that runs about $5 per month. They also have a great clean comedy division called “Dry Bar Comedy” and an original series called “The Chosen”. Don’t expect any connection to Disney content anytime soon, as Disney is suing VidAngel over content rights. I think VidAngel will be around for quite a while, and is a great way to keep your kids safer as they stream video content, and help parents rest easier with what their kids are watching.
Whatever services or tools you choose to use to help your kids make wise choices about the content they watch, make sure to have discussions with them along the way so they understand the “why” behind the “what”. Teach your children about integrity, purity of mind and heart, and the importance of character. I would encourage you to have your family memorize Philippians 4:8, and use it as a guide to help you decide what you should (or shouldn’t) be watching. If your kids understand that your desire for them is to be people with Christ-like character, integrity, and a life of purity that honors God, then discussions about any behavior or action will be far more effective, especially when they are trying to decide on a new Netflix series.