Get control with Parental Controls, part 2: DIRECTV Customers

In part 1 of this series, we saw how easy it is to set parental controls on a TV. The problem is, those controls only work for over-the-air TV. If you’re only using an antenna, that’s fine, but what if you have DIRECTV service?

DIRECTV provides a really good set of parental controls… even better than your TV. You can lock out content by movie rating, TV rating, you can block web videos, set viewing hours, and control spending limits. It all starts with pressing the {MENU} button, highlighting “Settings and Help,” and pressing {SELECT.}

Parental controls are off by default on DIRECTV receivers. If you want to block something, you have to set up blocks. Make sure “Parental Controls” is highlighted and press {SELECT}.

The basic parental controls just block adult channels and stop you from viewing unrated content, but there’s so much more. You can control everything. It will take you a few minutes to go screen by screen and set things just how you want. You can set viewing hours, you can set spending limits, you can really have a lot of control over what your kids watch.

Because DIRECTV receivers can watch Youtube videos, you can choose to block them. Most of those videos aren’t rated so if you’re concerned, just block them all. When you’re done, choose “Done” and you will be asked for a 3-digit PIN to lock parental controls.

Don’t skip this step. If you don’t lock the parental controls, then they don’t work.

Once parental controls are locked, if someone wants to go to a blocked channel they’ll just get a black screen with a message that looks like the one below.

You have the option of entering your PIN to temporarily or permanently unlock parental settings. When you unlock parental settings, you are unlocking everything, not just that channel. You can choose to unlock everything for four hours or permanently. If you want to turn parental controls back on, you have to lock everything again in the parental controls menu.

Remember, don’t set a PIN that your kids will figure out. Don’t use their birthdays, your phone number, or your anniversary. Don’t use “1234” or “0000.” Kids usually figure those out pretty quickly.