Netflix has become a staple of at-home entertainment with over 150 million users subscribing to Netflix 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.
We are calling on Netflix to 1) improve parental controls 2) stop producing sexually graphic and degrading content 3) change the app rating to 17+.
UPDATE: Progress on parental controls and rating displays! Key improvements still needed
Before being placed on the 2019 Dirty Dozen List, Netflix had serious problems with its parental control features. Many parents would create a “profile” on Netflix for their child, and on that profile, they would block certain ratings, such as TV-MA, or specific TV shows or movies by title with a 4-digit pin code. However, there was a loophole! That child could easily leave their assigned profile, and then access the same harmful content via their mom or dad’s profile!
But now, Netflix improved its system so that any pin code set by the account holder applies to all profiles. This closes the loophole and keeps kids safe.
This is an important improvement!
Further, there are now content warnings at the beginning of every show in the top left corner about exactly what kind of content will be present. This is important considering that 9 out of 10 sample Netflix Originals reviewed contained full nudity or graphic sex scenes.
The ability to PIN block across all profiles is an improvement, but many parents may find the constant pop-up inconvenient for them and their families. Ideally, Netflix would provide a way to PIN block on specific profiles, and lock individual profiles by PIN so children cannot easily switch between them.
We have also recognized some improvements on automatic-play trailers that are advertised on the header carousel of Netflix. Last year, this feature led to children as young as 3-years-old to be exposed to the trailer for shows like Sex Education with dialogue including the phrases “masturbate,” “dick,” “addicted to wanking,” and comments about how “everyone” is having sex. It now appears that Netflix is censoring sexually graphic words in these trailers. This is a step forward; however, Netflix often selects sexually graphic programs to be heavily advertised on its platform with automatic-play trailers on the header carousel of Netflix shows. We ask Netflix to update its policy to no longer use this feature as a way to promote its programs that have ratings which are supposed to be blocked by the parental controls of the given user.
We are also grateful to see that Netflix has improved the functionality of parental controls on Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices so that settings remain consistent whether the platform is accessed through a laptop, app, or these third-party players.
Netflix often produces media portraying gratuitous nudity, graphic sexual acts, and even graphic depictions of sexual assault.
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 nudity and on-screen simulated sex.
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.
App Rating for Netflix
Currently, Netflix self-rates itself as suitable for ages 4+ on the Apple App Store. This is a seriously misleading rating considering the significant percentage of content on Netflix which contains graphic sex acts, gratuitous nudity, and extreme depictions of sexual assault. We request that Netflix changes its self-rating on the App Store to be 17+.
Email Netflix Executives
Fill out this short form to email executives about improving Netflix parental controls in addition to reducing graphic depictions of sexual assault.
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:
- Tweet at Netflix! Here are some pre-written tweets you can share with a click.
- Share Graphics! Here are some graphics you can easily share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google Plus.
- Share Blogs! Click here to see all of our blogs on Netflix, and feel free to share them with friends or 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.
Stay updated on these projects
2020 Dirty “Baker’s Dozen” List of Mainstream Contributors to Sexual Exploitation Announced by National Center on Sexual Exploitation
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