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HBO GO & MAX GO – What Parents Need To Know

Streaming movies and TV shows to computers and other devices is becoming more popular as more and more companies follow NETFLIX’s lead.  Time Warner, the owner of the HBO and CINEMAX networks, jumped in this pool in 2010 by offering two separate streaming services: HBO GO and MAX GO.  Both of these services are designed to allow the streaming of HBO/CINEMAX content not only to computers, but also to portable devices such as iPads, cell phones, iPods, and to TV box systems such as ROKU.

Accessing the content of these streaming services requires that you must first be a subscriber to HBO and/or CINEMAX via your cable provider.  The primary logon information for your account with your cable provider serves as the primary account for the streaming services.  However, secondary accounts, which are also called sub-accounts,such as Little Johnny’s e-mail account, can also be used to log on to the streaming services.  All that is needed is the e-mail address and password for the primary or sub-account.  This is the same info needed to check an account’s e-mail INBOX.

The problem is that these new services provide instant access to ALL of the HBO/CINEMAX line-up, and that is where parents must become involved.

Both HBO and CINEMAX are known for having “late night” movies and series.  All of the adult content, and more, becomes instantly available when a person signs on to the services.  The adult products are, generally, of the “single-X” variety, although they may be rated NC-17 or TV-MA for “political” reasons.

Parents in households that subscribe to these channels need to be aware that access to these shows can be controlled through limited Parental Controls provided by the channels.  These controls allow “maximum” ratings to be set for both TV shows and movies and can be set for either the primary account or the sub-accounts as a group.

Screenshot of HBO GO Parental Controls Screen

To set the parental controls for HBO GO you must do the following:

  1. Go to www.hbogo.com.
  2. Click on SIGN IN.
  3. Select your cable provider (currently HBO GO is available on 12 different providers)
  4. Log in with the e-mail and password for your PRIMARY account.
  5. In the upper right, click on SETTINGS.
  6. On the left, click on PARENTAL CONTROLS.
  7. Set the “max” ratings level for movies and series.  Note that the UPPER set of ratings is for the sub-accounts and the LOWER set is for the primary account.
  8. Enter your PIN (which you will establish the first time you do this).
  9. Click on SAVE CHANGES.

The parental control settings are SHARED between HBO GO and MAX GO, so you only have to set one.

So, what else should a parent do?

  1. Make sure that your kids do NOT have the password to your primary cable account/e-mail account.
  2. Inspect your kids devices (phones, tablets, etc.) to see if HBO GO or MAX GO are installed (look for the icons shown at the top of this article).  If they are, test them out and see if you can access the “LATE NIGHT” content.  Your kids might be using another family’s login information.
  3. Most importantly, talk to your kids about how these adult products can harm them and can, and often do, lead to pornography addiction, an addiction more powerful than cocaine, some say.

Staying on top of threats to our children’s developing sexualities is a constant battle.

HBO/Cinemax are both sources of enjoyable entertainment.  By providing parents with this much-needed capability they have eased fears that children might exposed to material their parents feel is not appropriate for them.

What threats have you discovered that you can share with us?

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