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Facebook Portal to Stop Kids From Watching Content Unsupervised

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Facebook is delivering an update to Portal devices that will make it possible to turn off the Watch Together feature during calls in Household Mode.

According to The Verge, the update comes shortly after a BuzzFeed News article criticized Facebook’s blatant oversight of not including an “off” switch for the feature.

Watch Together lets you watch shows, music videos, or funny clips with distant friends or family members. Choose a video from Facebook’s selection, and it will be simultaneously presented to you on your Portal and on your friend’s device, whether that may be a phone, tablet, or Portal.

Watch Together may sound like a great idea, but it obviously isn’t ideal for parents who want to keep their kids away from videos on the internet, the report said.

When a Portal device is in Household Mode, everyone in the house has access to it, including kids. The Watch Together feature remains hidden in Household Mode but reappears during calls.

This can be a recipe for disaster, as BuzzFeed News noted, since kids can grab hold of the device, start up a call, and begin watching videos with others, the report said.

Right now, there’s no way to disable Watch Together during calls in Household Mode – likely leaving some parents feeling frustrated – but that’s all about to change.

In response to the BuzzFeed News report, Andrew Bosworth, the vice president of Facebook Reality Labs, tweeted that Facebook is working on a solution.


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