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Setting Up Parental Controls on HBO Max

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

Photo Courtesy of Dario on Unsplash

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already read my first Are You Still Watching? post which focused on Netflix’s content. If you haven’t, I heavily recommend reading it for more helpful tips to protect your child from watching inappropriate content as it also mentions IMDb’s helpful tool for detailed content warnings.

For this addition to the series, I want to focus on HBO Max since it has one of the most diverse content across its platform. Diversity in content is always wonderful for consumers, but also requires caution. Within a few short clicks, a child can go from a Cartoon Network series or the Harry Potter films to a raunchy and graphic show like Doom Patrol.

No-Go Shows

To start, here are some deceiving shows that seem like they’re meant for younger audiences based on their content and art style but – I promise – are not.

1- Euphoria (TV-MA)

Honestly, this television show can be triggering for adults, so be extremely cautious letting any child under the age of 18 watch it. Because it’s based on high school, it might be tempting to let your teenagers watch it, but there are countless explicit sex scenes, romanticized drug use (despite the creator’s intention of it being a warning of the dangers of drugs), and violence. If you do allow your child to watch, just make sure they understand the point is not to emulate characters like Rue, but to be different.

2- Doom Patrol (TV-MA)

Just because it’s about superheroes, it doesn’t mean it’s kid-friendly. In fact, it’s probably one of the worst shows your child can watch on HBO Max, in my opinion, because the cartoonish violence and sexual content add an air of lightheartedness that adults understand to be irony and slapstick humor while a child might view as examples of consequence-free actions and humorous behavior they should mimic.

Photo Courtesy of Wix

3- Anything Adult Swim (TV-MA)

It used to be really easy to assume that a show that was animated was meant for children. That is no longer an assumption someone can make since shows like Family Guy and South Park came out. Each year, they add a few more titles to be wary of. Some of the more notable and deceiving ones include Squidbillies, Smiling Friends, and Rick and Morty (who would’ve suspected a grandpa and grandson buddy-show to be so raunchy?). A good rule of thumb, if you see the Adult Swim logo, it’s probably not meant for your child’s eyes.

4- Santa Inc. (TV-MA)

Again, just because it’s animated, it doesn’t mean it was made for kids – even when it mentions Christmas and especially when Seth Rogan is involved. This HBO Max Original is the most deceiving on the list to me, personally. I did not know much about it and assumed it was a cute holiday miniseries centered around Santa’s elves. I was shocked rather quickly in the first episode and am so glad I didn’t watch it around my nieces or nephew.

Setting Up Parental Controls

I understand how daunting a challenge it is to frantically scour all the shows on HBO Max and make sure that your child is watching what they should be at any given time. There are some parental controls you can set up to make your job even easier, but don’t allow it to make you let your guard down. Children today are only getting craftier and craftier at working around the safeguards their parents set up to watch content they’re not mature enough for yet.

Good luck and safe streaming!

Morgan Galvez is a freelance writer and editor with a BA in English (with a concentration in writing, rhetoric, and publication) from the College of Charleston. She is currently building her freelancing career through positions at Brainfuse and Fiverr.

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