Netflix, a staple of at-home entertainment, continues to see exponential growth during COVID-19—now surpassing 200 million subscribers across the globe. While the streaming platform provides hours of entertainment with both existing and original programming, a Netflix subscription also includes sexually graphic and degrading content. 

Netflix may “entertain the world,” but they’ll go as far as sexualizing minors to do so. 

Help us call on Netflix to 1) Remove content that sexualizes minors or glorifies sexual violence; and 2) Stop producing and promoting sexually explicit material! 

Improvements in 2020 

In the past year, Netflix has made significant improvements, such as updating and strengthening parental controls and increasing the age rating on app stores to 12+. The improvements to its parental controls now include setting pin-features to access specific profiles, while modifying the rating on app stores gives much more power to adults about what content is appropriate for the youth in their life to consume. 

However, while improved parental controls and modified app rating have made the platform safer for children and families, there is still an abundance of content hosted and produced by Netflix that is harmful to minors and that normalizes sexual violence and the commercial sexual exploitation industry.  

Increasing Harmful Depictions of Child Sexual Exploitation 

Besides the unnecessary inserting of graphic sex scenes into mainstream entertainment, Netflix has increasingly allowed harmful depictions of child sexuality or sexual exploitation.  

This past year, the film Cuties garnered major attention from viewers and media. Cuties is just one of thousands of films Netflix hosts, though it is a thorough representation of the sexualization of minors that happens on the platform. 

While the film and its director had the intention to portray real and lived experiences of coming to terms with sexuality in a hypersexualized culture, in the pursuit of these themes, the content itself fed into a vicious cycle of the hypersexualization of minors, employing minors to take part in scripted sexual exploitation. The exploitation of young actors could likely affect them for a lifetime. 

Production and Promotion of Sexually Explicit Material 

Currently, Netflix provides over 300 original productions, ranging from serious dramas, laugh-out-loud comedies, and even animation. Most of Netflix’s most popular (and most heavily-advertised) original shows are rated TV-MA (mature audiences only) frequently containing graphic sex scenes, nudity, and violence. However, Netflix shows consistently portray literally thousands of instances of gratuitous nudity, graphic sexual acts, and even graphic depictions of sexual assault. Researchers at NCOSE recently looked into 10 of the top original Netflix titles and found that 9 out of 10 featured graphic on-screen sex scenes.  

By depicting these issues so graphically it both increases the likelihood that a victim of past assault will be negatively triggered by the content, and it decreases the likelihood that viewers will thoughtfully analyze the harms of sexual exploitation. It would be easy for Netflix to portray the harms of sexual violence or lack of sexual consent without simultaneously “profiting” from a sexually objectifying and voyeuristic motif. 

Solutions to Move Forward 

Netflix can still make changes to mitigate against the use of their platform in ways that foster and perpetuate sexual harms and put the most vulnerable populations at even greater risk.  

1) Remove content that sexualizes minors or glorifies sexual violence 

ACTION: Call on Netflix to remove Cuties 

2) Stop producing and promoting sexually explicit material! 

  ACTION: Email Netflix and ask them to more closely review original content for sexually gratuitous material 



Email Netflix Executives

Netflix has apologized for the cover image for ‘Cuties’ and changed the inappropriate photo of 11-year old girls, but they do not plan to stop hosting the film altogether.

Help us call on Netflix to remove this harmful content! 

Take Action

Share on Social Media – Netflix

Corporations like Netflix pay a lot of attention to social media to monitor their reputation. You can help take action on social media:

Netflix Parental Controls

While there are some flaws to the Netflix parental controls, it is still important to take advantage of the controls that Netflix does provide.

Click here to learn more about Netflix parental controls.

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Share Your Story

It can be painful to share stories of sexual exploitation or harm, and sometimes it’s useful to focus on personal healing first. But for many, sharing their past or current experiences may be a restorative and liberating process. This is a place for those who want to express their story.


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