How many family members in your household access your Netflix account? Netflix has made some progress on making their service more family friendly, and for my daughters’ sakes they’ve got a little further to go….
We enjoyed a long New Year’s weekend away from home, spending most of our time at the indoor pool at our hotel, playing cards in our room, or mindlessly watching network TV. Looking for a little programming variety, I fired up the Netflix app on my iPhone and scanned the usual screen landscape:
Recently Watched: Curious George, Avatar The Last Airbender, Wizards of Waverly Place, Gossip Girls, Vampire Diaries, Hannah Montana, Veggie Tales ….
Woah, what a minute. Hmm. A few of these set off the warning flares. I have two girls ages 12 & 11, six boys 10 and under, and then a wife that ain’t spending a lot of her free time watching Netflix. I’m no expert, but from everything I can tell Gossip Girls and Vampire Diaries probably aren’t in the age-appropriate wheelhouse for pre-teen girls which means my daughters were sneaking some inappropriate viewing time on their iTouch , which means—queue the knee-jerk reaction–I blew my stack!
Five minutes and a mini-Spanish Inquisition later, my girls continued to voraciously deny the offense. Shucks, they did look pretty darn earnest. Maybe I accidentally hit the viewing on these shows recently when I was browsing around? But for both shows? Naw.
Finally it clicked: Our 18 year-old babysitter was checking-in on our dog a few times a day back home. Clearly she was making herself comfy and enjoying some couch-time with the dog and the ladies from Gossip Girls. We’re not the type of family to tuck a secret babysitter webcam into the bookcase, so it felt a little creepy to have an audit trail of her viewing habits.
Some key takeaways:
- The Jerk: Yep, I’m a big ol’ jerk. My daughters got a big bear hug and even bigger apology from daddy ASAP. Mea culpa!
- Parent Control: Boy, I wish Netflix had some privacy controls so I don’t have to use a combo platter of responsibility dialog, scare tactics, and the “Recently Watched” queue as a deterrent to keep my kids from accessing mature and R rated content!
- The Recommendations: Shoot, I just realized that my babysitter’s viewing is probably going to skew the recommendations that Netflix starts spitting out at me. Uh oh.
- The Audit Trail: There’s some mature stuff – like Spartacus or The Tudors — that I click on that I just plain don’t want to show up in my Recently Viewed list. Period. Netflix, can you give me a widget that will allow me to suppress this?
Any of this ever happen to you? How many family members access your account? Please share!