A Safeguarding Hub – Useful Resource  

Safeguarding Hub ‘guides to useful resources’ provide a brief oversight of the subject matter, combined with a selection of handpicked links and documents, all aimed to provide a complete package of knowledge for the safeguarding professional. We aim to keep them refreshed every six months, but if you become aware of any broken links, please email us and let us know.

This guide looks at protecting children from content broadcast on terrestrial and streamed television services. It does not include content that can be found online e.g. via social media or websites.


We live in a world of online streaming, where movies, box sets and TV produced programmes are available in their thousands through streaming companies such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. Despite these streaming services, a 2019 reports from the Office of Communications (Ofcom) identifies that using mainstream channels on a TV set, is still the most common method used by the UK public to watch their television. However, the use of streaming services still continues to grow with the total number of UK subscriptions rising by a quarter in 2018, from 15.6m to 19.1m.

With so much choice, it has become increasingly difficult for parents and caregivers to monitor and regulate what their children watch and are exposed to on TV. Whilst in the UK we have the ‘watershed’, there is often criticism of pre-watershed programmes such as soaps and reality programmes, which expose children to bad language, violence and sexual content. Routinely professionals in mental health services, education and safeguarding raise questions about how sexual and violent imagery impacts on a child’s mental health. Over the years, academic study dating back to the 1970’s has raised some of the key questions around children’s exposure to potential harmful content:

  • do children become desensitised to violence and the harm and suffering of others?
  • does their anxiety and fear of the real-world increase?
  • do children show higher levels of aggression?
  • are they more likely to act in a more harmful way to others?
  • will exposure to sexual content lead to children becoming sexually active sooner?

These are debates that are as old as television itself. One thing we can be certain of, legislation alone will not protect children from harmful content. Protecting children from potentially damaging material can only be achieved through a combination of parental control, educating children about harmful content and helping them to become digitally resilient (see the digital resilience link in resources below).

The Resources

Parental Controls

Parental controls on Netflix

Please note: the UK Safer Internet Centre provides far better instructions on parental controls on Netflix. It can be accessed HERE.

Parental controls on Amazon Prime Video – parental controls vary across all Amazon devices.

Parental controls on Now TV

Parental controls on Disney Life

Parental controls on Freesat

Parental controls are not available on the Freeview app and can be applied by setting the parental control on the individual player.

Parental controls on Sky

Parental controls on BBC iPlayer

Other useful resources

Common Sense Mediathe go to place for common sense reviews and advice on movies, tv shows, apps and games.

A 2010 webpage from the University of Michigan, providing an oversight and links on what parents need to know about children and TV. Headings include:

  • Does TV affect children’s brain development?
  • TV and aggressive or violent behaviour
  • Can TV scare or traumatise kids?
  • How does watching television affect performance in school?
  • Can TV affect my child’s health?
  • Children may attempt to mimic stunts seen on TV
  • Watching TV can cause sleep problems

BBFC resources for schools, aimed at teachers of Key Stage 2 children, to help them “navigate the fast-changing world of online content – especially watching films online, via apps and on platforms such as Netflix”.

Ofcom protecting children webpage.

Fantastic resource from the UK Safer Internet Centre on ‘TV on Demand’ providing numerous links on all the major TV streaming services.

BBFC Digital Age ratings page, with links to the age classification, explanatory comments and lists of digital services that use the classification system.

Digital resilience: a parent’s guide. A guide from Parent Zone and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (National Crime Agency).  

Thanks for reading





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