A parent’s review of Disney Plus: It’s hands down the best streaming service for kids

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Disney_Plus_kids_profile_UK
Disney Plus features a ton of kid-friendly content.

  • Disney Plus is packed with family-friendly entertainment perfect for parents and their kids.
  • Parental controls allow you to fine-tune what your kids can watch and set a PIN to protect profiles.
  • At $8 a month, Disney Plus is also affordable, making it a great choice for families on a budget.

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Bringing the magic of Disney to the small screen, the Disney Plus streaming service has a lot to offer families and kids. And best of all, the platform comes in at a budget-friendly price of just $8 a month.

After spending over a year watching the service with my wife, our 8-year-old daughter, and our 11-year-old son, I continue to be impressed by the platform’s selection of all-ages content and kid-friendly navigation options. Here’s why Disney Plus remains our go-to streaming service for family viewing.

What can kids watch on Disney Plus?

wonderful world of mickey mouse

Disney Plus features a ton of movies and shows for kids and families. There’s a good mixture of blockbuster films and TV series that cover Disney’s entire library, from classics like “Snow White” and “101 Dalmatians” to recent releases like “Moana” and “Frozen II.” Live-action versions of “Aladdin” and “Lion King” sit alongside the animated originals.

The Disney Plus catalog also includes Pixar titles like “Toy Story,” Marvel superhero blockbusters, “Star Wars” cartoons and movies, documentaries from National Geographic, and plenty of kid-friendly titles from Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD.

In the US, Disney Plus has no R-rated content at all. The maximum ratings are PG-13 for movies and TV-14 for shows. This makes its library uniquely suited for families. Outside of the US, Disney Plus recently added an adult-focused section called Star, which does include R-rated movies and mature shows. Thankfully, Disney makes it easy to restrict access to these programs if you have kids.

My family experience with Disney Plus

the mandalorian
“The Mandalorian”

We signed up for Disney Plus when it first launched, and I recently renewed it for another year. As big “Star Wars” and Marvel fans, my whole family has enjoyed watching and rewatching the major movies.

The highlight of the service so far has been “The Mandalorian,” which became a weekly treat that brought us all together. We’ve also enjoyed introducing our bemused kids to nostalgic movies like “The Black Hole” and “Freaky Friday.” There’s a lot of choice if you’re hunting for family-friendly films, and we often pick something from Disney Plus for family movie nights.

My 8-year-old daughter is by far the most avid watcher of Disney Plus in the house. She loves the Disney and Pixar movies and watches favorites over and over. She also enjoys many of the Disney shows. My 11-year-old son is less interested, but there are certain series they frequently watch together, such as “Phineas and Ferb,” “Gravity Falls,” and “The Simpsons.” He also likes some of the National Geographic documentaries.

My wife and I enjoyed “WandaVision,” but that’s one of the few things we’ve watched on Disney Plus without the kids. That is beginning to change, however, with the addition of Star in the UK where we live.

Parental controls on Disney Plus

Disney Plus parental controls
Parental controls are included to restrict what kids can watch on Disney Plus.

With the launch of Star in international markets, Disney Plus revamped its parental controls, enabling optional PIN protection for profiles. The updated parental controls rolled out globally, so they also brought new options to parents in the US.

When creating a profile for your child, you can now specify the content rating from TV-Y at the bottom of the scale all the way up to TV-14. This gives you tighter control for kids of different ages.

You can also toggle on “Kid’s Profile,” which changes the Disney Plus interface and limits the profile to content that’s suitable for kids. In the US, that means shows rated up to TV-Y7-FV and films rated G. The kid’s interface also organizes titles into simpler categories like “Super heroes” or “Princesses” instead of the “Marvel” or “Disney” categories you see with regular profiles.

The “Kid’s Profile” is ideal for younger children and, as long as you add a PIN to other profiles, there’s no danger your child will find anything inappropriate.

There is one potential issue here for families with multiple children, however. We set up PIN protection for the adult profiles, but didn’t want to for the kids. We allow my son to access 12+ content, while my daughter has the “Kid’s Profile” setting. But we soon found that this meant there was nothing stopping my daughter from choosing my son’s profile to gain access to a slightly wider library. The only way around this was to add a PIN to my son’s profile.

Can different family members watch at the same time?

Disney Plus profiles
Disney Plus supports multiple profiles.

For any family-friendly streaming service it’s important to have support for a wide range of devices, and the option to have multiple simultaneous streams. Disney Plus nails this with support for most smart TV brands, Roku, Fire TV, PlayStation, Xbox, and pretty much any Android or Apple media device you can buy. You can also stream through a web browser.

You can have Disney Plus play on four devices simultaneously, so you and you children can watch different titles at the same time. You can also download as much content as you want on up to ten mobiles devices. This makes it easy to save shows for your kids to watch later when you might not have access to an internet connection.

How does Disney Plus compare to other services?

We also subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Technically speaking, Disney Plus has some advantages since it offers 4K movies at no extra cost and it handles limited Wi-Fi bandwidth gracefully.

With Netflix, you need a Premium account at $18 a month to get 4K and stream on four screens simultaneously. With Prime Video, there’s no extra cost for 4K, but you are limited to three simultaneous streams. Prime Video is also slightly more expensive at $9 a month on its own, or $13 a month as part of Amazon Prime.

There are more adult-focused titles on Netflix and Prime, but Disney Plus is better for young kids. Classic Disney films are the kind of movies that kids will watch over and over. This type of content is disappearing from other services as Disney continues to make its programs exclusive to Disney Plus.

Netflix and Prime Video do offer some family favorites like “SpongeBob Squarepants,” “Pokemon,” and “Scooby-Doo,” but we’ve also found that they carry a lot of subpar shows. The fact that they change content often can also lead to disappointment. So far, Disney Plus seems to have a more permanent library.

There’s quantity and quality for kids on Disney Plus. If family viewing is a priority for you, then Disney Plus can’t be beat right now.

Should your family get Disney Plus?

Disney Plus adult profile UK

Choosing a streaming service for your family will largely depend on your children’s tastes and your own beliefs about what’s appropriate. We feel Disney Plus is a must-have for kids around 10 and younger, but it isn’t as good for older kids unless they’re heavily into “Star Wars” or Marvel.

It’s nice to have a streaming service you can browse together without fear of inappropriate content, and there’s always something on Disney Plus that you can watch with a family of all ages.

You can sign up for Disney Plus today for $8 a month or $80 a year. In the US, you can bundle the service with Hulu and ESPN+ for $14 a month. This is a great way to supplement your Disney Plus subscription with access to live sports and more adult-focused content, making the bundle a value that’s equally strong for kids and their parents.

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The $1.9 trillion stimulus bill would literally pay parents for having kids, and it could dramatically change America’s social safety net forever

family child tax credit mothers
The child tax credit, part of the stimulus bill, would give parents up to $3,600 per child.

Later this week, President Joe Biden is set to sign a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill into law that would inject a massive amount of federal cash into nearly every part of the economy. Much of that direct aid would temporarily benefit people as the nation’s economy slowly begins recovering from the pandemic.

But the legislation also plants the seeds for what could be a major transformation of the nation’s social safety net for the lowest-income Americans. The bill contains a one-year provision to dramatically expand the child tax credit, which would allow for parents to receive up to $3,600 per child.

Democrats aim to distribute this credit through monthly checks. Parents with children ages 5 and under could get a $300 payment per child, while those with kids between 6 and 16 could get $250 each month.

Some Democrats in the House and the Senate have said they will press to make it a permanent benefit program later this year. Biden told House Democrats last week he supported making the temporary beefed-up child tax credit permanent, though it’s unclear if that applies to monthly checks.

Democrats seem to be wagering that giving this credit to families for one year will be so popular that the case for making it permanent will be obvious.

There is some support on the right for this idea, too: Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah proposed a larger cash benefit for families last month.

Researchers at Columbia University projected the measure would form a key component in cutting the child poverty rate nearly in half, a statistic that Biden and other White House officials have cited repeatedly in recent days. The bill would also halve the poverty rate for Black and Hispanic children, according to the Columbia study.

If it does so, the policy may revolutionize the government’s relationship with families by offering a universal benefit to many with the potential to lift them out of poverty. That has been a key priority of Democrats for decades.

The relief package is “one of the most consequential and most progressive pieces of legislation in American history,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

‘Social Security for Children’

Democrats and progressives already see similarities between this child tax credit expansion and historic additions to the social safety net from the 1930s and ’60s during the presidencies of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, respectively.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro of New York, the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, compared the initiative to “Social Security for children” in an interview with The New York Times – essentially another program directed at providing a basic income to a specific segment of Americans.

Chuck Marr, the director of federal tax policy at the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Progressive Priorities, drew a comparison between the proposed program and Johnson’s push to curb poverty through his “Great Society” program. Johnson’s goal was, as he put it in his first State of the Union address, “not only to relieve the symptom of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it.”

Marr told Insider if the child tax credit became permanent, “it becomes a landmark achievement.”

Current law prevents many of the poorest families from tapping into the child tax credit that the federal government offers. The maximum amount for families with small tax bills is $1,400, and nearly one-third of children live in families with earnings too low to qualify. The stimulus would make this tax credit fully refundable instead, meaning households could receive cash even if they had no tax obligations – but only for the duration of 2021.

If the child tax credit became a permanent fixture in the US economy, America would move closer to many Western European countries, including Germany and Sweden, which have a universal child benefit. Canada and Australia also have generous tax-free child benefit programs that phase out for top earners.

A permanent child tax credit along the lines of the stimulus would be on par with Luxembourg’s family allowance, which offers a standardized monthly amount of $313 per child (this increases slightly at ages 6 and 12). It would be higher than Denmark’s $732 quarterly allowance for children ages 0 to 2 and $151 monthly allowance for those ages 15 to 17.

The other countries that offer such programs typically have lower child poverty. Denmark, which spends 20.9% of its GDP on social programs, has a child poverty rate of 2.9%, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

As of 2019, the US child poverty rate was 14.4%.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Democrats may be about to change the relationship of families to the government forever

family child tax credit mothers
The child tax credit, part of the stimulus bill, would give parents up to $3,600 per child.

Later this week, President Joe Biden is set to sign a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill into law that will inject a massive amount of federal cash into nearly every part of the economy. Much of that direct aid will temporarily benefit individuals as the nation’s economy slowly begins recovering from the pandemic.

But the legislation also plants the seeds for what could be a major transformation of the nation’s social safety net for the lowest-income Americans. The bill contains a one-year provision to dramatically expand the child tax credit, allowing for parents to receive up to $3,600 per child.

Democrats aim to distribute this credit through monthly checks. Parents with children aged 5 and under could get a $300 payment per child, while those with kids between 6 and 16 could get $250 each month.

Some Democrats in the House and the Senate have said they will press to make it a permanent benefit program later this year. Biden told House Democrats last week he supports making the temporary beefed-up child tax credit permanent, although it’s unclear if that applies to monthly checks.

Democrats seem to be wagering that giving this credit to families for one year will be so popular that the case for making it permanent will be obvious.

There is some support on the right for this idea, too: Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah proposed a larger cash benefit for families last month.

Researchers at Columbia University project the Biden measure would form a key component in cutting the child poverty rate nearly in half, a statistic that Biden and other White House officials have cited repeatedly in recent days. The bill would also halve the poverty rate for Black and Hispanic children, per the Columbia study.

If it does so, the policy may revolutionize the government’s relationship with families by offering a universal benefit to many with the potential to lift them out of poverty. That has been a key priority of Democrats for decades.

The relief package is “one of the most consequential and most progressive pieces of legislation in American history,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

‘Social Security for Children’

Democrats and progressives already see similarities between this child tax credit expansion and historic additions to the social safety net from the 1930s and 1960s, in the presidencies of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, respectively.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro of New York, the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, compared the initiative to “Social Security for children” in an interview with The New York Times – essentially another program aimed at providing a basic income to a specific segment of Americans.

Chuck Marr, director of federal tax policy at the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Progressive Priorities, drew a comparison between the proposed program and Johnson’s push to curb poverty through his “Great Society” program. Johnson’s aim was, as he put it in his first state of the union address, “not only to relieve the symptom of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it.”

Marr told Insider that if the child tax credit becomes permanent, “it becomes a landmark achievement.”

Current law prevents many of the poorest families from tapping into the child tax credit that the federal government offers. The maximum amount for families with small tax bills is $1,400, and nearly a third of children live in families with earnings too low to qualify. The stimulus makes this tax credit fully refundable instead, meaning households could receive cash even if they have no tax obligations – but only does so for the duration of 2021.

If the child tax credit becomes a permanent fixture in the US economy, America would move closer to many Western European countries, including Germany and Sweden, which have a universal child benefit. Canada and Australia also have generous tax-free child benefit programs that phase out for top earners.

A permanent child tax credit along the lines of the stimulus would be on par with Luxembourg’s family allowance, which offers a standardized monthly amount of $313 per child (this increases slightly at ages 6 and 12). It would be higher than Denmark’s $732 quarterly allowance for children ages 0 to 2 and $151 monthly allowance for those ages 15 to 17.

The other countries that offer such programs typically have lower child poverty. Denmark, which spends 20.9% of its GDP on social programs, has a child poverty rate of 2.9%, per the The Economic Policy Institute.

As of 2019, the US child poverty rate was 14.4%.

Read the original article on Business Insider