February 17, 2021

PROGRESS: Netflix changes app ratings!

Streaming giant Netflix’s tagline is “we want to entertain the world”—and now with over 200 million subscribers in reported at the beginning of 2021, Netflix certainly boasts a global reach. However, this massive streaming platform is also glorifying and enabling exploitation to the world.  Netflix landed spots on the National Center on Sexual Exploitation 2019 and 2020 Dirty Dozen Lists for producing graphic sexual content, insufficient parental controls, and deceptive app ratings on app stores.  

Since its addition to the Dirty Dozen List, we’ve been advising Netflix on how to create a safer platform. In April, Netflix made significant changes to its parental control systems (read more about that win here). And just this past November, Netflix changed its rating on app stores. 

We applaud Netflix for modifying its rating to 12+ on the Apple App Store and “Teen” on Google Play.  

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, along with other child advocates, has been calling out the current system for app ratings. Companies can self-rate their apps as appropriate for “all”—even when that’s not the case. An app rated as appropriate when it’s not is disingenuous and even dangerous, as it doesn’t warn parents of the potential harms on apps, including Netflix. Patrick Trueman, President and CEO of NCOSE explains, “Children are often exposed to hardcore pornography before puberty or groomed for sexual abuse or sex trafficking on apps that claim to be safe and age-appropriate.” 

Previously, Netflix had self-rated itself as 4+. This was a seriously misleading rating considering the significant percentage of graphic sex acts, nudity, and sexual assault content on Netflix.  An appropriate app rating reflective of the material available informs caretakers of the content their children may be accessing and empowers families to keep their kids safe.  

We applaud and thank Netflix for taking the steps to modify their app rating and improving parental controls. This victory is a reflection of the tireless advocacy of many allies to keeping children safe in the digital space. 

Join us in thanking Netflix and also encouraging them to stop producing and promoting sexually explicit material and to remove any content that sexualizes of minors or glorifies sexual violence. 

Thank you @Netflix for changing your app rating! Now, it's time for you to stop producing & promoting sexually explicit material. Click To Tweet Thank you @Netflix for changing your app rating. Now, you should remove all content that sexualizes minors. Click To Tweet

What do you think? Has Netflix made significant enough changes to be removed from the 2021 Dirty Dozen List? Sign up for our reveal event on February 23, 2021 to get our take. 


Nazeefa Hossain

Corporate Advocacy Intern

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