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New Netflix Section 'Just for Kids'

Netflix has introduced a kids section where kids can search for titles by character and see episodes by thumbnail.

Young children, as all parents know, love to watch the same shows over and over...and over. It's exactly this love of repetition that makes Netflix a good deal for families. Rather than buy or rent individual kid shows, it's easier (and cheaper) to sign up for Netflix' streaming service and let the youngins watch all the videos they want.

It's cheaper than a babysitter too. Go ahead, call me a bad parent.

Netflix, realizing the appeal of its family-friendly, all-you-can-watch service, today launched a new "Just for Kids" section designed for viewers 12 and under. The new area focuses as much on popular characters from children's shows as it does on titles. According to Todd Yellin, Netflix VP of product Innovation, "kids identify with shows more by the characters than by the title."

"I'm a dad of a five and seven-year-old who love to watch characters," writes Yellin on The Netflix Blog.

The new Netflix "Just for Kids" tab is available on the PC and Mac in the U.S. and Canada. Similar features will come to streaming devices such as the Wii, and iPad, and Roku, but the company hasn't announced specific launch dates for other hardware.

The top of the "Kids" section displays a scrolling row of dozens of animated and live-action characters, such as Jimmy Neutron, Barney, Dora, Strawberry Shortcake, and the Jonas Brothers. (Sorry, I can't think up a Jonas Brothers joke at the moment. Feel free in the Comments section.)

Kids click a character they want to watch. If they choose Jimmy Neutron, for instance, the subsequent screen lists episodes as image thumbnails. Bottom line: Even if you can't read yet, the interface is a breeze to navigate.

Parental reaction on the Netflix Blog has been mixed, with many parents asking the service to implement better content controls.

"PLEASE add parental controls at the same time - currently there is no way for our 7 year old to search titles on the Wii without coming across the horror section with Saw IV and the like. This new "Just for Kids" feature is worthless if you don't also allow for parental control to block certain MPAA ratings and genres," writes Mark Reiter.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

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