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Hulu Adds PIN Restrictions to Parental Controls

Jeff Kotuby

Hulu has reportedly added a new feature to protect kids from accessing content that’s not made for them.

According to the Parents Television and Media Council (PTC), Hulu’s latest parental controls update added PIN restrictions to prevent kids from flipping between child and adult profiles. The PTC called on Hulu this change after finding that Hulu’s parental controls were the worst of all the top streaming platforms earlier this year.

“We are glad Hulu made an improvement to its parental controls by adding PIN restrictions to a user’s profile. This is a simple, yet critical, change that we had urged Hulu to implement after our research found were extremely lax compared to other top streamers,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

Winter agrees the new feature is a good start but says Hulu still has work to do. “But Hulu still has to make significant improvements to make its parental controls as good as or better than the other top streamers. For instance, children can still access age-inappropriate PG-13 and TV-14-rated content through a ‘kid’ profile, and Hulu should work on a solution to prevent that from happening. Even a ‘teen’ profile allows the user to access TV-MA or R-rated content. With Hulu’s platform containing adult content like ‘teen comedy’ PEN15, A Teacher, Harlots, among others, it is imperative that Disney-owned Hulu is prioritizing child safety.”

Bringing up that kids under 14 can access TV-14 and PG-13 content is a good point and is something that should probably be addressed at some point. Hulu could use YouTube’s idea of “kids,” “teen,” and “regular” accounts to age-gate certain content more effectively.

While Hulu ranked among the worst parental controls among streaming services, its sister platform, Disney+, was ranked among the best. While Disney+ admittedly lacks the wide variety of TV-MA and R-rated content that Hulu offers, it does have something Hulu doesn’t — a “kid-proof exit.” To switch from a kid’s profile to an adult’s profile, a security question must be answered, (hopefully) preventing the child from switching profiles. Disney+ also has separate profiles for children, promising a “kid-friendly interface with only content suitable for children,” and the option of limiting access to adult profiles with a PIN or password, further securing the account.

“All streaming platforms should work together to develop and implement standardized industry best practices for parental controls, given the lack of uniformity between platforms. Parents should be able to trust that all platforms are prioritizing consistent parental controls, especially given the popularity of streaming. Just as car manufacturers must meet the same safety criteria, so should streamers with influential – and potentially harmful – content, ” Winter said.

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