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Netflix wants to help parents connect with their kids by explaining what they’re watching

Netflix wants to help parents connect with their kids by explaining what they’re watching


So you don’t have to watch The Boss Baby: Back in Business

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Netflix is rolling out a new tool for parents to better understand and monitor what their kids are watching. Called the Kids Activity Report, as seen in the image above, the new breakdown includes data on what type of programming kids are spending the most time watching, who their favorite character is, and recommendations for new shows based on their interests.

Emails sent out to customers who have kids accounts enabled started going out this weekend, letting parents know they could opt into the report. The report also comes with a “joke of the day,” coloring pages (based on Netflix characters and shows) to print out for kids stuck at home, and prepared questions to ask their kids based on their favorite show or character.

Parents will hopefully be able to better connect with their kids by having a more thorough understanding of what they’re watching — even if they don’t want to watch it themselves, Michelle Parsons, who leads Netflix’s product innovation team for kids and family, told The Verge.

“Most parents have a pulse on what their kids like, based on their Halloween costumes or toys they ask for at Christmas, but we don’t always know what those shows are about,” Parson said. “What is the show, in essence, talking about?”

Netflix’s kids profiles are typically made for children between “pre-school and pre-teen” ages, Parsons said. If older kids don’t want their parents knowing what they’re watching — or just don’t like the idea of being monitored — that’s a conversation for families to have, Parsons added. Parents can opt out of the reports at any time.

Alongside the new kids report, Netflix is also rolling out a global test for a Family Profile setting. Unlike regular profiles or kids-only profiles, family profiles will pull in TV shows and films that people can select as family-friendly, and it will appear in one profile.

Netflix accounts are designed around individual interests. The algorithm learns what people are into and suggests recommended programming to keep them glued to their screens. Like The Witcher? Try Cursed, or something along those lines. The family profile uses ratings to bring in a number of different titles that are then prioritized and recommended based on those individual interests. Movies up to a PG-13 rating and TV shows up to a TV-14 rating will appear.

“The key thing to understand is that it creates a family profile with co-viewing in mind that’s most relevant for specific family audiences,” Parsons said.

What people won’t be able to do right now, however, is add shows or movies in that are more mature than PG-13 or TV-14. Hypothetically, if a family wanted to watch The Witcher together, that wouldn’t show up because of the rating. Parsons acknowledged that the team is communicating with members about what they want out of a family profile, and Netflix can work on a setting that allows subscribers to add titles beyond the PG-13 and TV-14 rating if that becomes a popular request.

The family profiles are rolling out today as part of a global test, while the kids activity report is also rolling out in select markets as part of a global test.