Disney has a well-deserved kid-friendly reputation, that doesn’t mean everything on Disney+, their streaming service, is appropriate for your whole family. While there’s no R-rated material on the platform, you should still understand the different sections of the streaming service and what’s offered so you can make the right decision about what’s appropriate for the kids or teens in your household.
What Disney+ Includes
Disney+ offers streaming not just from Disney, but from National Geographic, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney Channel. With a subscription, you can create up to 7 profiles and download unlimited content on up to 10 devices, including mobile phones or tablets.
If you’re overwhelmed and not sure where to start, three major buckets contain the most kid-friendly material:
- Disney Junior, which includes popular toddler shows like Doc McStuffins, Elena of Avalon, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
- Disney XD, for kids and tweens, with shows like Phineas and Ferb, Big Hero 6 The Series, Tangled the Series, and DuckTales
- Disney Channel, for tweens and teens, with shows like Kim Possible, Hannah Montana, and movies like High School Musical and Descendants
- Disney Nature, which offers family-friendly nature documentaries like African Cats (narrated by Samuel L. Jackson!) and Chimpanzee
You’ll also be able to find pretty much any animated Disney movie or Pixar movie out there, though you’ll want to look up individual titles if you’re not sure what’s appropriate and what’s not. The best defense is to…
Create a Kid Profile
Similar to other streaming services, you can set multiple profiles for your Disney+ account, meaning you can create kid-specific profiles with security or maturity settings. Designated kid profiles on Disney+ limit what’s available to content rated G, TV-Y, TV-Y7/Y7-FV, or TV-G. To create one, toggle “Kids Profile” when creating a new profile, and set a name and image you’ll remember as the kid-appropriate one.
If you’re using kid profiles, you’ll want to teach your kids to always watch on their profile, or make sure each time you use the service, you set it back to kid profile as a default. That’s because there’s no PIN or password-protection for other profiles, so it doesn’t take much for a kid to figure out how to access the rest of the content (you may want to read this sentence again).
What to Watch Out For
Kid profiles aren’t super transparent in that you can’t pick and choose what to block within a profile, or set age ranges. You’ll also want to watch out for older movies and shows that depict racist or sexist jokes or images, which may be rated G but are marked with a disclaimer that they “may contain culturally outdated references,” in the description of the title. This includes movies like Dumbo, Lady and the Tramp, and The Jungle Book. (Though some of the worst offenders, like Song of the South, won’t ever show up on the platform, according to Disney.)
Second, you’ll have to determine what’s right for your kids that are old enough to watch shows and movies beyond the limitations of the kid profile. With Disney+, you’ll be able to stream Marvel and Star Wars movies, both series that have intense action sequences, language, and sexual references (most Marvel movies are rated PG-13.)
Disney+ Is Perfect for Watching Together
Like any show or movie, the best thing to do is watch with your kids, rather than use technology as a babysitter. That way, you can decide what kind of conversations you need to have and what’s truly appropriate for them at that time. Streaming movies like the Hamilton film can be a great introduction to American history, but you’ll still want to talk through certain elements (ahem, the Say No to This song). The same holds true with many of the PG or PG-13 titles in Disney+’s library.
Plus, when it comes to some of these iconic movies, you’ll want to be there for these big moments to share the joy.
Savvy Cyber Kids educates and empowers digital citizens, from parents and grandparents, to teachers and students. Sign up for our free resources to help you navigate today’s digital world with cyber ethics. See more cyber safety and cyber ethics blogs produced exclusively for EarthLink. Looking for a social media parental control? Try a 30-day free trial of Bark. If you sign up after your trial, Bark donates 25% of your monthly fee to Savvy Cyber Kids.
Thank you to the Savvy Cyber Kid’s sponsors!
Interested in becoming a Savvy Cyber Kids sponsor? Email Ben Halpert.