Experts in digital safety
So, your child has asked you to buy them a subscription to Crunchyroll…excuse me? Don’t worry, it’s not a new language: it’s a streaming service for all things anime. If this is your first foray into the world of Japanese animation, you’ll likely have several questions. Just what is anime? Why would my child want to watch this? And, above all: Is Crunchyroll safe for kids? Find all the answers and more in this safety guide for parents.
Crunchyroll app ratings
What is Crunchyroll?
Launched in 2006, Crunchyroll is an online streaming platform providing users with access to the latest anime series, direct from Japan. Think of Crunchyroll as the Netflix or Hulu of anime – while other streaming platforms offer access to anime shows, it’s all Crunchyroll offers. This makes it the ideal streaming service for fans of Japanese animation, offering classic shows along with fresh content that’s regularly updated.
As of 2021, Crunchyroll has over 5 million paid subscribers, accessing over 1,000 shows from across Japan and East Asia. Crunchyroll offers both a free version and a paid subscription. The “Premium” version of the service has different tiers, with “Fan” allowing users to stream content without ads, and “Mega Fan” offering ad-free streaming and offline viewing on multiple devices at the same time.
What is anime?
Anime is a term that refers to animated content produced in Japan or influenced by Japanese animation. In simple terms, anime shows are cartoons, but with a different style to western-style animation. The big difference between cartoons and anime is the audience: in Japan, anime is popular across nearly all age groups, so cartoon shows are often produced with a more adult base in mind – and here’s where the red flag comes in for you as a parent.
Anime shows can contain more mature content and themes, including violence, swearing, fear or horror, and substance use. They also may display sexual content or make strong sexual references. So while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your child being into anime, as a parent you need to be aware that not all shows on Crunchyroll are going to be suitable for your child to watch.
What do kids like about Crunchyroll?
The characteristic style of anime, teamed with its use of color, shape, and distinctive character design, makes it appealing for kids. There are multiple genres and storylines, meaning there’s an anime show out there for everyone: whether your kid likes action, romance, real-life drama, or fantasy, they’ll find the content they enjoy engaging with on Crunchyroll.
In addition, anime breaks the boundaries of cartoons just being for young children. It is often produced with teenage and young adult audiences in mind, so many kids enjoy watching cartoon shows that deal with issues they can relate to, such as teenage relationships, romantic attraction, and mental health. As Crunchyroll offers access to over 1,000 different anime shows, kids have endless opportunities to consume the type of content they enjoy.
Is Crunchyroll safe for kids?
Crunchyroll has a couple of native features which reduce the risk of your child being exposed to inappropriate content, but they are easily bypassed. In order to stream content, users must be over 16 years of age to create an account – but no verification is required during this process. Only an email address and password are requested.
Once you or your child has signed up for the service, in the account settings section there is an option which allows you to switch off access to “mature content”, but this is easily turned on and off, and only removes access to adult content (18+). Even once this feature is turned on, shows which are sexually suggestive, or which have more mature themes, are still available for streaming.
How can I make Crunchyroll safe for my kids?
The good news is that a quick Google search will show you more about the individual show your child is interested in watching, so you can easily check whether it’s appropriate for kids or not before they begin. If you’re really unsure, watch a couple of episodes before they stream it themselves.
Your child may enjoy the platform more if you make it a family activity, so you could co-watch and talk about the content together, or switch off the show (and explain why) if you find that the content is inappropriate for your child. If you want to reduce your child’s exposure to ads, then a Premium subscription will allow them to stream the anime they love, ad-free.
Qustodio’s final advice on Crunchyroll
Overall, if you have an anime fan in the family, Crunchyroll is a great subscription service for them to enjoy the content they like, but with supervision. Turn off access to mature content within the service, reduce exposure to ads with a Premium subscription, pre-watch or co-watch shows, and if you want to reduce your child’s daily screen time, make use of a parental control tool that can put a limit on how many hours they watch a day.
Anime is a diverse form of entertainment, but it is somewhat problematic, as many people assume that because of the cartoon format, anime is safe for kids to watch. As with any streaming service, make sure your child understands what makes for acceptable watching and what doesn’t, and keep dialogue open with them about the shows that are appropriate for their age range. Remember: If your child or teen is into anime, that’s not a direct cause for concern. Millions of people around the world enjoy the genre. Get to know their hobbies and interests better, and you may even start to enjoy anime as a family!