Now parents can set up four-digit PIN codes for individual Netflix profiles so that children don’t accidentally access adult content, Netflix announced yesterday. This also means that a child will be unable to access their own profile without parental permission. Netflix had introduced this feature in some territories last month, but rolled it out globally yesterday.

You can choose which profiles need a PIN for access

Profiles with a pin code appear with a lock symbol on the home page.

Locked Netflix profile

Parents can also block out individual titles for particular profiles. So if you think “Sacred Games” is unsuitable for a 5-year-old child, you can block it out for that particular profile.

Parents can use the green bar to restrict access to titles en masse, or restrict certain titles. For instance, for this Kids profile, access to the melodrama Hum Saath-Saath Hain has been restricted.

Apart from this, parents can also set general filters for a kids’ profile to filter out content en masse. They can choose between All, 7+ and below, 13+ and below, 16+ and below, and All maturity ratings (18+).

Even though Netflix allows you to set up simple PINs, such as 1234, to access parental controls, it prompts you for the account password. This move is undoubtedly better than what YouTube Kids offers where to access app settings, the app asks answers to simple arithmetic questions such as 5×8, 7×4, 9×5 or asks you to set up a passcode. If you set up a simple passcode, such as 1234 or 0000, the app doesn’t prompt you to change it for being too easy. Getting around the passcode is also quite easy: simply uninstall and reinstall the app.

In the days leading up to the launch of Disney+ Hostar in India, Hotstar had launched a “Kids Safe” section on its service, which restricts access to mature content. However, a child can easily toggle between the Kids section and the main section to access mature content.

Age-gating mechanisms are particularly tricky since children can get around most of them. The proposed Indian Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, also mandates that guardian data fiduciaries, that is, fiduciaries that handle large volumes of children’s data, must implement age-gating mechanisms, but doesn’t specify what they would look like.

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