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Apple TV 4: Restrictions and Parental Controls

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Setting Up Parental Controls for HBO NOW

tvOS lacks the ability to provide comprehensive, system-wide parental controls. Apart from the iTunes Store and App Store, the operating system can’t control access to explicit content within apps. This means even if you restrict access to HBO NOW, once inside the app, your child can watch anything. Fortunately, HBO provides their own parental controls.

Configuring HBO NOW parental controls is simple, but cannot be done directly on Apple TV. This actually has one advantage. If you’re not at home, you can set parental controls anywhere using a web browser. I think most people would prefer this feature to be built in to the tvOS app too.

When you first signed up to HBO NOW, you are prompted to create an HBO NOW ID. This not only enables configuration of parental control, but also provides access to HBO NOW on virtually any device. This article assumes you have created an HBO NOW account and can login to the website.

First, open a web browser on your computer or mobile device and go to the HBO NOW website. If you are not logged in, you are prompted to enter your email address and password. Enter your authentication information and click on “Sign in to HBO NOW”.

Sign in to HBO NOW

The main HBO NOW screen will appear. Click on your name in the top right corner.

Click on Name in Top Right Corner of HBO NOW

The settings page is displayed. Click on Parental Controls on the right side of the page.

Click on Parental Controls

Select the appropriate maturity level for movies and TV shows on the Parental Controls screen. Next, enter a four digit PIN. Make sure to record the PIN number and store it in a safe place. Finally, click on Enable Parental Controls.

Select HBO NOW Parental Controls

The parental controls are now applied to HBO NOW across all of your devices, including Apple TV.

HBO NOW Parental Controls Successfully Changed

HBO NOW is not the only content provider with parental controls. If you use Netflix, parental controls are offered on the accounts page. Hulu does not offer parental controls at this time. If the specific app does not offer parental controls, Apple TV can still require a Passcode to open the app. Unfortunately, when the app is opened children can access any content.

TV appliances like Apple TV are changing the way we watch television. They offer us a plethora of content, often bundled in a single app. While this is great for most people, it also means that parents should be vigilant.

Parental controls and Restrictions are tools to help parents limit mature content and prevent unauthorized purchases. These are valuable implements for controlling access to content, however, parents still need to be careful. Make sure to test your parental control settings and keep an eye on what your children are watching. With some effort and the right tools, you can keep explicit content away from impressionable minds and prevent unauthorized purchases.

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