New Max Platform Allows Kids to Access TV-MA-Rated Content

Written by PTC | Published May 25, 2023

PTC Urges Max to Fix Platform Ahead of ‘The Idol’ Premiere

LOS ANGELES (May 25, 2023) – The Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) found evidence that Warner Bros. Discovery’s newly rebranded streaming platform Max is inconsistent in preventing children from accessing TV-MA-rated content, and is calling on the company to make changes to ensure children will not have access to The Idol ahead of its June 4th premiere. The Idol has been described as “pornographic,” a “sordid male fantasy,” a “darker, crazier, and more risqué version” of HBO’s Euphoria.

“The parental controls on the new Max streaming platform have more holes than Swiss cheese, enabling children to access some of the most explicit streaming content on the market. It is apparent that Max has no idea what’s appropriate for children or how to limit children’s exposure to sex, violence, profanity – and this is a major corporate liability. We urgently call on Max to fix its platform to prevent children from accessing The Idol before its June 4 premiere and other explicit programs,” said Melissa Henson, vice president of the Parents Television and Media Council.

The day after HBO Max rebranded to Max, a PTC researcher set up a new account on Max using a mobile phone app and created a Kids Profile, which automatically limited the account to G and PG-rated content. However, the researcher was able to switch to an adult account without having to enter a pin code or age verification.

Another PTC researcher, a current Max subscriber, created a new Kids Profile that did not automatically limit the content to G and PG-rated content and enabled the researcher to view TV-MA-rated content on both a web browser and through the app on AppleTV.

The Streamable also reported that Max’s “Kids and Family” section included PG-13 and TV-14 rated content that included nudity, graphic violence, and explicit language.

“Whether these are glitches in the new system or not, Max must ensure that children cannot access explicit content that can be harmful to them. The burden here is on Max. The company must implement the strongest possible parental controls by default instead of putting the burden on parents to figure it out. Max must ensure a consistent user experience – and with the strongest child protections – regardless of the device used to watch content on the platform,” Henson said.

“Max is already playing a dangerous game by pushing the extremes with sexually explicit content on Euphoria and The Idol and putting so much children’s programming in close proximity on the same platform. Max has bundled The Idol with Property Brothers and Harry Potter. If Max cannot ensure basic child safety on its platform, it needs to consider establishing a family tier instead of bundling programs with nudity and drug use next to programs like Sesame Street.”

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