With limited Parental Control and a burgeoning content archive, how can you protect your children from addictive technology?

Exponential Growth

Netflix is growing at lightning speed, and one of its areas of largest growth is within the Kid’s section. Andy Yeatman, the Director of Netflix Children and Family recently told the crowd at Mip Jr. 2017 that viewership of programs in its designated Kids and Family section has climbed 13% of late in the U.S. but has spiked some 61% in markets outside of Netflix’s domestic market. He also said that of its subscribing 104 million households worldwide, more than half of them have watched kids and family content, and that Netflix has 200 shows in the kids and family section that have been viewed by at least 2 million households. Yeatman told the crowd that Netflix is doubling down on its kidvid investment because there is clearly more competition coming in the ad-free streaming arena.

As Bronwen O’Keefe, Nickelodeon’s senior vice president of development and production, explained to the Washington Post, “Kids want everything. They want more, more, more, and they want different, different, different, and so we’re exploring every genre, every style.” It is worth noting that Nickelodeon is the only one of the major American kid’s networks whose ratings have not crumbled in the face of Netflix’s market dominance. They are trying to follow the precedent set by Netflix by moving away from the traditional kid sitcom and further into both “happy reality” series, inspired by viral YouTube videos, as well as serialized scripted shows with “more genre-bending, more complex storytelling, more drama, mystery and suspense.”

While Nickelodeon may be trying to adapt to the changes Netflix has spearheaded in the marketplace, it has, for the first time, surpassed cable in total subscribers according to Leichtman Research (chart below).

Chart: https://www.statista.com/chart/9799/netflix-vs-cable-pay-tv-subscribers/

Cutting The Cord

In 2015, a Pew Research Center Survey found that 47% of Americans did not subscribe at all to cable TV, and 15% were “cord cutters” who at one point had cable, but have since chosen to forgo it entirely in favor of an internet connection. Streaming media has completely disrupted the entertainment landscape, with Netflix leading the pack. Their subscriber base has more than doubled in the past five years.

The pace of cord-cutting did not begin as fast as many expected, but it quickly gained steam. Now, the number of people leaving cable each year outnumbers those joining, as it has done since 2013. Initially, the losses were modest, with only just over half a million households in total in 2013 and 2014, out of 101m total subscribers. In 2015, however, cable suddenly lost 1.1m subscribers.

Consumers aged 13-24 watched 8.8 hours per week of subscription-based online video (Netflix, Hulu and others) versus 8.2 hours of cable TV. Considering free channels (e.g. Youtube) and Social channels (e.g. Facebook, Snapchat), that consumer segment watches a whopping 20.9 hours per week of online video. That’s more than two and a half times they spent watching cable television.

Customers that do chop the cord almost never rejoin the fold, joining instead the vast number of millennials who avoid signing up for cable entirely, dubbed “cord-nevers” by media executives. Cable’s relevance as a dominant medium for entertainment rests entirely with older generations, and it won’t be able to fight the demographics forever.

This means that your kids have an expanding and unprecedented access to digital media – and its producers to them.

Parental Responsibility

Kids today are consuming more media than ever, and their options will only continue to expand as new and existing media houses continue to develop their platforms. In an age where scientists and researchers agree that excessive exposure to screens are harmful to children, (as explored on our article Beware of Screen Addiction When Raising Your Child), it is imperative that parents take an active role in limiting technological access for their kids.

Because we believe that parents must pay extra attention to the content kids are consuming on Netflix now that it has become so ubiquitous, we have prepared a step-by-step guide on how to setup proper parental controls for Netflix.

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