Netflix is an American provider of on-demand Internet streaming media in the United States, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, United Kingdom and Ireland and flat rate DVD-by-mail in the United States. The company was established in 1997 and is headquartered in Los Gatos, California. It started its subscription-based digital distribution service in 1999 and by 2009 it was offering a collection of 100,000 titles on DVD and had surpassed 10 million subscribers. On February 25, 2007, Netflix announced the billionth DVD delivery. In April 2011, Netflix announced 23.6 million subscribers in the United States and over 26 million worldwide. By 2011, the total digital revenue for Netflix reached $1.5 billion.
While Netflix Kids has been available on desktop, Xbox and other platforms, the iPad is the first mobile device to get the kid-friendly channel.
Of all the potential use cases for Apple’s best-selling tablet, one of the greatest is as an entertainment hub for children during long trips in the car or on a plane. Parents can set up parental controls, load up the iPad with games or movies, and let the kids have their way with the tablet, hopefully ensuring a few moments of peace during the long journey.
It’s almost as if the iPad were designed for a toddler’s natural swipes, and parents now can feel more comfortable handing over their devices. On Oct. 1 Netflix added its “Just for Kids” section to its iPad version. Mom or dad can tap a button on the app and launch the channel filled with content for the under-12 set that has been designed for pre-readers and readers alike.
Recognizable characters, including Curious George, Dora the Explorer and Arthur are featured across the top, so kids can choose their favorites. Netflix offers TV episodes from popular animated shows as well as movies with G and PG ratings. Just for Kids isn’t a new development for Netflix. The section has long been available on the Netflix Web site as well as through the Apple TV, Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3.
This application aims to make it easy for kids to find their favorite cartoons and movies by letting them swipe through rows of their favorite characters as opposed to rows of posters or titles. Netflix also promises. Just for Kids will have all of the cars, dinosaurs, princesses and sing-alongs that kids crave, all displayed in an easy-to-find interface.
However, not all shows are rated. Plenty, such as Marvel’s “Planet Hulk,” have an “NR” for “not rated,” the same term that officially means the movie was not submitted to the Motion Picture Association of America to be rated. That can pose an issue for parents who are concerned about age-appropriate content. While the Netflix “Just for Kids” programs have been screened by the company, what content is appropriate for a twelve year old may not be suitable for her preschool sibling. Netflix does not make distinctions between G, PG and NR content or offer parental controls within the channel, which means it still may require parental guidance.
But the company does offer kid-friendly categories, so children can choose shows based on what they’ve watched in the past (the same way Netflix makes recommendations based on previous viewing in its regular app) and new categories such as Sing-Alongs, Superheroes, Pets and “Watch with the Family.”
With Guided Access Mode, parents can open the Netflix app without worry of their children accidentally opening other apps or getting themselves into any more trouble. In addition to disabling the hardware buttons – a great way to ensure the volume stays at a certain level – parents can draw on certain areas of the screen which cannot be touched or interacted with as well as turn off all motion controls. This mode is also great for playing pranks on close friends.
From here, users can turn Guided Access mode off or on, set a pass code with which to enable full functionality of the iPad once more, and adjust whether the screen goes to sleep in this mode. While this mode is incredibly handy for parents who want an extra layer of protection when they give their children access to a tablet with potential access to the dangers of the real world. Apple announced this feature for teachers as well, enabling them to give assignments and tests on these devices without the worry of the students popping into other apps to find the answers or update their social network statuses.