Stream Safe


Type of Resource


Publication Date

June 21, 2023


Privacy and Safety Settings 

‘Streaming’ explained

Film, TV shows and music are all examples of content that can be streamed. This happens without downloading or saving the content. Streaming is different from downloading or using traditional broadcast TV which is sent via satellite.

To stream content, you need a device and an active internet connection. Because most devices are now portable, care is needed when young people use tablets and game consoles away from adults at home, or even outside the home.

95% of teenagers want age ratings on streaming platforms, according to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

TV Time is decreasing but tablet use is popular

Streaming entertainment services have changed how we consume media, But this doesn’t mean young people aren’t watching TV. Simply, how they watch or consume new media has changed. A 2022 Ofcom report found 78% of children watch services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ compared to just 47% watching live TV.

Understanding how to enable content restrictions is key to keeping children and young people safe when streaming.

Restricting Content on Streaming Services

  • Most TV and streaming services offer free parental control services that limit the content that children can access when watching or streaming content online.

  • Enabling these services does not mean your content will be restricted. These settings can be temporarily disabled, or additional profiles can be used for adults or for older children at home.

  • These controls are not always enabled automatically, and you will need to access the settings to activate safety features.

  • These features will give you extra confidence when leaving the room, or when young people consume content away from you.

  • This allows children and young people to safely search and watch suitable content when you’re not around.

Below you will find a list of popular service providers and the information you need to access their additional safety features:


Starting out in 1997, the streaming giant’s usage now accounts for roughly 15% of global internet traffic. They offer thousands of films and TV series and have even produced and created Oscar-winning content. Even the word Netflix has become synonymous with watching movies online in the English language.

Netflix is available as an App on most Smart TVs, games consoles, phones, tablets and can also be viewed on desktop computers.

In November 2020, Netflix announced that it had classified all its movies and TV shows, using algorithms and technology that was developed by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). Netflix also now offers an extensive range of parental controls, accessible via a web browser, these are highlighted below:

  • Users can create separate profiles that have different levels of maturity ratings. The options are U, PG, 12, 15 and 18.

  • You can create a profile for younger children, which will offer a simplified user interface with PG content.

  • Parents can also lock accounts intended for older users using a PIN code.

  • To keep an eye on what children and young people in your care are watching on Netflix, you can use the viewing history feature.

Source: Netflix

We have all had our fair share of Netflix binges, but as we know, too much screen time can have adverse effects on the children and young people in your care. Netflix allows you to turn the auto-play feature off, making it a little easier to get away from the screen.

For more guidance on all of the information above and more visit:

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ has been around for more than 15 years and is mainly accessed through the Apple TV+ set top box. This platform is also available as an app on most Smart TVs, games consoles, phones, tablets and can be viewed on desktop computers.

Similar to Prime, Apple TV+ has content included in the subscription price and other TV shows and films which you have to pay to rent or purchase. Users can also pay to subscribe to different channels.

As with all streaming services, Apple TV+ offers a wide range of content which has various maturity ratings, as well as ample opportunity to spend money. See below for the platforms parental controls:

Parents and carers can use Apple TV+’s restrictions feature, which will allow them to restrict certain content and In-App purchasing. Content will only be accessible by using a PIN code.

Source: Apple

For more guidance on restrictions on your Apple Tv+ visit:

You should make sure that your Apple TV has been updated with the latest software before making any changes.

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video launched in 2007, sprouting from the retail giant Amazon. This video streaming service is purchased with a Prime account and offers thousands of movies and TV shows, intended for a wide range of audiences.

This service is different from Netflix as, although there are many free options, users still have to rent or purchase many films and TV series if they wish to watch them.


Prime Video is available as an App on all Amazon devices, Smart TVs, tablets, laptops and other streaming devices. This platform offers the following parental controls:

  • Parents can restrict certain content for any Amazon device.

  • To avoid unauthorised purchases on Amazon Prime, you can set up a parental PIN code.

  • Set up a Prime Video Kids Profile, which will ensure only content intended for those under 12 is available. Please note that in this account, downloads from other accounts are still accessible.

For more guidance on setting up Amazon Prime visit:


Owned by Sky TV, NOW TV is a rolling subscription service, offering an alternative to cable subscriptions. This platform is available on most smart TVs. It is also available on gaming consoles, phones, tablets and can be viewed on desktop computers. If you have NOW TV’s broadband, you can take advantage of their ‘Broadband Buddy’, a system developed to protect children and young people from online harms.


NOW TV offers the following parental controls:

  • You can filter content in line with a specific maturity level.

  • Users can set up a parental PIN which will be required for mature content and making In-App purchases.

For more guidance on all of the information above and more visit:

Sky Q (Kids Safe Mode):

Sky provide TV, broadband and phone services to about 6 million customers. Their updated kids Safe Mode allows children to use the remote and access age-appropriate content.

Users can adjust their package to include content from film, sport, TV shows or children’s shows. There is also a Sky Store where users can rent/purchase other options not included in the subscription service.

Users can watch Sky on their Smart TVs, via a SkyBox, or via the Sky Go App on a phone, tablet, games console or computer.

Sky has gone a little further in protecting children and young people by developing a new parents guide, in conjunction with Common Sense Media. The parent’s guide gives content a rating of 1 – 5 against eight themes:
  • Positive messages.
  • Positive role models.
  • Violence and scariness.
  • Sex.
  • Language.
  • Consumerism.
  • Alcohol, smoking and other drugs.
  • Educational.

Sky Q also offers extensive parental controls, which we have highlighted below:

  • Users can create PIN codes which will restrict access to certain shows and prevent unauthorised purchases.
  • Sky offers parents and carers ‘Kids Safe Mode’, which only has content rated U.
  • Parents and carers can hide adult channels.
  • Add a PIN for access to the Sky Go App.
  • All trailers have ratings as per BBFC specifications.

For assistance with parental controls visit:


Disney+ is one of the more recent subscription streaming services. The service has been accessible to UK users since March 2020 and provided much enjoyment for many children and young people during the first nationwide Lockdown, with big names such as Star Wars, The Simpsons, and National Geographic.

Disney+ is created specifically for children and young people, and as a result, has a slightly more relaxed approach to parental features.

Disney+ is available as an App on most Smart TVs, games consoles, phones, tablets and can be viewed on desktop computers.

All content has maturity ratings and can go up to 16+. For more information, check out the Disney website here. Disney+ offers the following parental controls:

  • Parents and carers can set up a Kids Profile, which will mean all content is suitable for younger children. To do this, check out instructions here. Please note that even though Disney offers profiles for young children, there is currently no system which stops them from logging in on a different account.

  • To help set healthy screen time habits for children and young people in your care you can turn off auto-play.


Virgin media provide internet, TV and phone services to over 3.4 million subscribers. There are 2 different ways to restrict content for young people, you can hide adult channels and also lock individual channels.

How to Enable Parental Controls on Virgin Media:

Press home > Help & Settings > Parental Controls.

You can then enter your PIN and select hide adult channels or lock channels.


For assistance with parental controls visit:

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