This week Vudu released some great new family friendly features that are sure to please many parents. It’s no secret that I LOVE movies. I mean… I REALLY love movies. My Vudu collection is vast. I have 840 movie titles and several TV series in my Vudu account.
We don’t just have all of our movies digitally, we buy the physical media as well. Which is another reason I love Vudu. I can purchase a movie before it’s released physically, and have the actual disc shipped to my house on release day. However, Disney titles do not participate in the Disc+Digital program, so I usually have to wait for those to hit the stores so I can have the physical copy and the digital copy.
Common Sense Media Reviews
We all know that ratings don’t mean a whole lot anymore. A movie can be rated R strictly for violence, but have an amazing message like Hacksaw Ridge, while other movies can be rated R because they are completely raunchy, full of sex and foul language. How are you really supposed to distinguish between the two?
Common Sense Media has been publishing parent guides for movies for many years that really help you decide if you want to watch a movie yourself, or if you think the movie might be good for your children to watch. I often read the parent guide to decide on a movie that I want to see!
Now Vudu makes it so much easier to find the Common Sense Media review. They have added an entire section to each movie title to let you know exactly what to expect when you watch that movie.
When you click the “read more” button you will see a thorough description of the movie and some of the more questionable scenes. It really makes it easy to know exactly what you are getting yourself into before you hit “Watch”
Another new feature Vudu has released and is available now is a Kids Mode. When you enter Kids Mode you can set a PIN that must be entered in order to exit Kids Mode. Once you have entered Kids Mode and required a PIN, even if the TV is turned off, they will not be able to exit Kids Mode without the PIN. So, if your child has a TV, you can set it on Kids Mode, and leave it there!
The Kids Mode will ask how old your child is. The options really only go to 12, so if you wanted to set it to 13-17, there really isn’t a great way to do that yet. You can choose to set your 14-year-old’s device to age 12 if you choose, otherwise, they will likely have access to all of the content in your library.
Kids Mode will only allow your kids to view movies that are age-appropriate for them, and they will not be able to browse through the store to find other titles. It’s a very limited interface, which allows them to just find a movie to watch and start watching it.
Filtering through ClearPlay
Another new feature called Family Play, that hasn’t rolled out to Roku devices quite yet, is the ability to filter content in movies that are PG-13 and under. Currently, there are no rated-R titles with this ability, and it’s unclear if they will ever offer it since many movies will be cut so drastically it would be distracting.
Right now, though, there are over 500 titles that have participated in the feature and allow you to “skip or see” Sex/Nudity, Violence, and Substance Abuse. You can also set it to “hear or mute” language. It will not replace any language with clearly dubbed voice-overs, it will simply mute the bad words.
You can currently watch movies with Family Play through iOS or Android devices, Xbox One, and some newer TV’s from LG and Samsung. I assume it will come to Roku soon enough.
I love that companies are really thinking of families when it comes to entertainment, and how to help parents make choices they feel are appropriate for their children. While some families might give their kids a little more freedom when it comes to movies, other families prefer a little cleaner entertainment. Offering these features allows both families to enjoy the entertainment they want to see!
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com