Helping Families Stream Quality Kids Content Safely

December 10, 2020

This year, feeling overwhelmed was a recurring topic at the FOSI Annual Conference. From finding quality online entertainment, to navigating parental controls, to balancing tech and media consumption, parents are overwhelmed by the challenges of keeping their families engaged and safe online. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indeed, on HBO Max, and across the media industry, streaming has skyrocketed since the onset of the pandemic. Parents have turned to streaming platforms for everything from entertainment to education for their children. This summer, the AT&T Family Digital Poll told us most teens are now spending 3+ hours online everyday for entertainment alone. Meanwhile, parents are increasingly worried about their teen’s safety online. At AT&T and WarnerMedia, we know families are looking for solutions to surface engaging and entertaining age-appropriate content.

We also know that what kids watch matters. Quality, age-appropriate content does not only help entertain, but also helps kids understand the world, develop social skills, and inspire new ideas. We designed our bespoke Kids Experience with transparent parental controls and parent input in mind.

In fact, we’ve made it nearly impossible to miss our parental controls because we intentionally baked them into the onboarding process for new subscribers. And, we built HBO Max’s Kids Experience to grow with the child as they develop, rather than as a straight partition between kid and adult. Not surprisingly, as I discussed on the Streaming Quality Kids’ Content panel at this year’s FOSI Conference, we’ve seen high engagement among parents using these controls. Since the launch in May, 84% of parents on HBO Max have opted in and locked their kids’ profiles. This means their kids are protected and will only see age-appropriate content in their profile. In total, 66% of parents are also actively curating their kid’s experience by setting up custom TV & movie rating settings.

And, beginning in 2021, we will provide parents with even more information and content to help them make media choices that are right for their families by integrating Common Sense Media into HBO Max’s Kids Experience. This integration will make it easier for parents to find quality content and will create more opportunities for families to come together during the pandemic. For HBO Max, this is just the start. Through our continued conversations with parents and our collaboration with Common Sense Media, we will work to provide parents with the tools and information they need to make the online and entertainment experiences that are right for their family.  And, by making these tools available directly in the HBO Max experience and on AT&T’s ScreenReady website, we can help reduce emotional overwhelm for parents navigating the digital world.

Written by

Lindsey Emerson

Lindsey Emerson is VP of Product Management at HBO Max and based in Los Angeles. She has over a decade of experience in product management building streaming platforms across educational and entertainment spaces. Since joining HBO Max as a founding team member, her team launched the Kids & Family experience, offering kids an autonomous and age-appropriate experience while giving parents transparent controls they can trust.

Prior to joining WarnerMedia in 2017, Emerson served as Director of Product Management for The Bouqs Company. There she drove ecommerce platform optimization and improved distribution effectiveness which helped secure a Series C round of $24 million. Emerson also managed the growth of the marketplace while at DogVacay, which was acquired by Rover in March of 2016. As a part of the acquisition, she was tapped to help manage the integration of the Dogvacay marketplace onto the Rover platform.

Emerson started her career working with several EdTech startups in Washington D.C., Seattle, and Philadelphia, where she facilitated growth for video streaming and instructional content platforms. In 2013, she joined Pluto TV as a founding product leader and managed the streaming service’s launch on 15 connected TV, gaming, OTT, and mobile platforms, helping to secure investment rounds through Series C.

She graduated with honors from the Media Ventures graduate program at Boston University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Elon University. While at Boston University, Emerson created an educational app recommendation platform, which correlated mobile apps to the national common core curriculum for educator use in the classroom. Since 2017, she has continued on at Boston University as an adjunct professor for the Media Ventures program in Los Angeles.