Screen Time Over Spring Break?
How To Set Up Parental Controls &
Enjoy TV With Your Family

child picking what to watch on Disney plus

Spring break is here – and that may mean more screen time for kids.

Whether they are curled up on the sofa for a family movie night or watching on a tablet during a trip to the beach, make sure you know how to set up parental controls to keep your kids safe.

Why it matters: Ask any parent – protecting kids while they are watching TV, or using a tablet or smartphone can be a challenge. Fortunately, cable providers offer free, easy-to-use tools to help parents control what their kids can watch. 

Need a refresher on parental controls? We’ve got you covered.

How to Set Up TV Parental Controls

Depending on your TV provider, set-top or streaming box, or streaming app that you’re using, there are different options available that let you control what content your child is allowed to access – even when you’re away: 

Set-top boxes: You can set up your cable’s parental controls by accessing the on-screen menu. Then, with just a few clicks of the remote, you can find options for controlling what programming your child can access.

  • Block entire channels or features, like video-on-demand.
  • Set an age-appropriate viewing level, automatically blocking access to programming that is rated for an older audience.
  • Block programming based on content descriptors – such as “moderate violence” to automatically block higher levels of violent content.
  • Limit access to programming based on time and day.

Streaming boxes and apps: Most streaming services offer parental control options under Settings, once you’ve logged into your account. Another commonly available option? Creating separate profiles for your kids that automatically limit content offerings to age-appropriate programs.

  • Set up additional limits on your child’s profile to further control what content is – and is not – available.
  • Prevent kids from logging into adult accounts, editing restriction features, or creating new accounts by using a PIN feature.
  • Block an entire channel, or specific program titles within a channel or network.

And if you want to make sure your kid makes it out to the beach, you can also set screen time limits and turn off “autoplay” of episodes and previews to make sure an hour of TV doesn’t turn into a whole afternoon. 

Find Shows to Enjoy Together

Along with deciding what kind of content you don’t want your children to see, don’t forget to have fun discovering shows they’ll love—or that you can watch together. 

TV ratings guideWhen browsing for the right pick, remember to take a look at the TV Parental Guidelines that appear at the beginning of a program in the upper-left corner of the TV screen. The television industry created this rating system to give parents information about the content and age-appropriateness of television programs.

Audience Label: Indicates the audience for which a television program is appropriate.

Content Label: Indicates a show may contain violence, sex, adult language, or suggestive dialogue.

Common Sense Media is also a great resource to visit when looking for family-friendly shows. Their website provides reviews that make it easier to choose high-quality, age-appropriate, and diverse content for kids. 

At Beyond, we support TV that is inclusive and represents diverse characters and perspectives. To learn more about our work, click here.