Sky has confirmed plans to roll-out its hotly-anticipated Kids Safe Mode in the coming weeks. The feature, which was first teased over a year ago in February 2018, offers a safe space that shields children from some of the racier post-watershed content they could stumble across if they had unfettered access to the Sky Q menu.
Kids Safe Mode is something that has already been introduced to rival services like Netflix: a walled garden for children that only offers access to family-friendly content, so parents can hand over the iPad on a long journey and rest assured that their young one isn't watching Orange Is The New Black, or Sex Education.
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The Kids Safe Mode setting allows parents to lock their Sky Q box in the Kids section, by simply selecting the setting and entering their PIN. Once activated, all non-kids’ content including live channels, recordings, on-demand shows, and on-demand apps will be blocked. The only content that will be accessible will is rated up to age 12.
The new feature can be activated on any Sky Q hardware around the house. As such, parents are able to gorge on all the beheadings, orgies, incest and gruesome dragon-related deaths that Game Of Thrones has to offer, safe in the knowledge that their children are limited to age-restricted content on a Sky Q Mini in the next room.
The Sky Q update, which will be installed overnight automatically, follows on from the existing Sky Kids app launched in early 2016. The software includes 5,000 on-demand episodes, as well as children's shows to stream and the ability to create personalised profiles for each child. The app, which is available on iOS and Android, also allows guardians to manage children's screen time, set age filters, and put the app to sleep whenever they want, remotely.
Speaking about the Kids Safe Mode announcement today, Stephen van Rooyen, Chief Executive UK and Ireland said: "At Sky, we go further than anyone else to ensure we put families first when developing our services. Sky Q’s new Kids Safe Mode is a super simple way for parents to have ultimate peace of mind when their children are watching TV."
While the new Kids Safe Mode is likely to provide reassurance to some viewers, many will likely be disappointed that Sky Q still does not have the same granular parental controls as the Sky+HD hardware it replaced in October 2016 – much to the frustration of users in its official forums. For example, Sky+ HD allowed parents to nominate select channels to block – either until 8pm each evening, or 24 hours a day. This option is still not available on Sky Q.
Sky Q's Family settings also does not impact the Netflix app. Even with the option that requires a PIN to play recordings and downloads of shows that would originally aired after the watershed enabled, Netflix content can be accessed without restriction. This has to be changed in Netflix's own settings menu.
Kids Safe Mode will be rolling out automatically to Sky Q boxes "this spring".