Taking Back Control: Using the Xfinity Kids Zone to Your Advantage

Portland Moms Blog has partnered with Xfinity to bring you the information in this post; we love sharing updates and information from businesses we trust, and the views expressed here are our own!

My family falls somewhere in the middle of a gray area when it comes to limiting screen time. The amount of TV my kids watch day to day really depends on what we have scheduled, how efficient I am with getting through meal prep, or how motivated I am to start bedtime. At our house, it is easy to monitor the shows my kids are watching because the only screen they have is our family computer in the living room. However, this is a much different scenario when we travel to visit the grandparents!

kids zone

When visiting family out of town, we are all beyond excited to see those we love and all of the places (and toys) we have missed. But another fun bonus to visiting my parents’ house is their big screen TV and Xfinity cable with On-Demand and Kids Zone! In past visits, my kids have been young enough to have few opinions about what they were watching or for how long, as long as there was some singing and dancing involved in the show. This summer however, I knew I was up for more of a challenge with regard to monitoring, managing, and limiting the shows they have access to. It was a bit daunting, as we suddenly had seemingly endless options and very few of those were shows or characters I was familiar with.

We tried picking a few new shows, based on the picture from the screen menu, but I ended up disappointed by content or violence. I was getting frustrated with spending so much time scrolling through shows, and my kids were getting frustrated with my saying “no, not that one” to so many of their choices. 

Enter Xfinity Kids Zone. I was able to easily and quickly set up the parental controls, allowing me to filter out shows by age levels. This automatically removed about half of the show options. I showed my kids how to use the voice control feature, so they can find the shows or content they want to watch (“princesses” and “sharks” are BIG command hits) without pushing all of the buttons on the remote. Then I set the PIN number to lock Kid Zone, so they are unable to leave the feature without my help. As a result, I can make dinner or take a shower without worrying they might stumble upon something inappropriate or attempt to rent or buy a movie. 

My favorite part of the Kid Zone is the rating and description provided in conjunction with Common Sense Media for every movie and each episode of a show. I have been able to take a minute, quickly read the description, and make a decision on whether or not the content is something I want my kids exposed to before getting ten minutes into the show and deciding it’s not going to work for us. The ratings include categories like “positive role models,” “language used,” and “violence,” etc. The descriptions are detailed and highlight specific content of the episode which helps you make the best decision for your family. 

Utilizing the Xfinity Kid Zone has given me the peace of mind that my kids will only watch safe, age-appropriate content on TV, and it gives them the sense of independence and choice as they make decisions and access shows they want to see.

It is my intention to foster and support my children’s healthy relationships with media and technology, and features like Kid Zone offered by Xfinity is helping me to do that! 

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Katie is a recent East Coast transplant from Maine, where she was born and raised. While trying to figure out how to create the life they wanted to live, Katie’s husband, David, was presented with a job opportunity in Portland. They decided to go for it and moved across the country with their two young children. Katie has previously worked as an occupational therapist in an early childhood setting, but with the move was presented with the opportunity to stay home with her kids and she took it! It has been an adventure switching to life as a full time stay-at-home mom to her five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son. She spends her days exploring Portland’s playgrounds and coffee shops, looking for new vegetarian restaurants to check out, and trying to remember that slowing down is a good thing. Since arriving in Portland, she has begun making time for all of the things that have caught her interest over the years: yoga, cooking with local foods, experimenting with sustainable lifestyle choices, writing and getting outside in the always beautiful PNW.