Last week, Netflix announced a brand new feature aimed at children. The media streaming company rolled out the feature which allows kids to collect “patches” for watching episodes of certain shows. Some users have been able to see this feature for the past few weeks, and Netflix said they were designed to allow for a “more interactive experience for kids.
To say that parents reacted strongly to this news would be an understatement. Here are a few samples of articles and quotes from around the web in reaction to this Netflix news.
Here are some tweets the @Netflix account received….
“hi. i have been a netflix subscriber for over ten years. i will cancel my subscription if patches stick around. i don’t need you actively encouraging my child to waste time in front of the television.”
“Netflix Patches are an emotionally manipulative marketing tool that is being used to sell Netflix’s partners’ toys to kids.”
“Netflix has patches /badges now? What’s the deal with this?? As if getting my son to stop watching Netflix wasn’t hard enough. Now I have to deal with him wanting to binge endless hours of shows just to earn a silly patch? Not good. My opinion I know, but still I don’t like it!”
This is only a small sample of the responses Netflix received, and it’s difficult to find anyone who is praising the experiment. Turning tasks (like chores) into more of a game is an effective way to encourage our kids to do things, but parents were loud and clear that this method should not also be applied to something seen strictly as “fun” like TV.
Netflix listened to the overwhelming responses, and less than a week after the feature came to everyone’s attention, they pulled the plug.
“We’ve concluded the test for patches and have decided not to move forward with the feature for kids. We test lots of things at Netflix in order to learn what works well — and what doesn’t work well — for our members.”
What do you think? Was this the right move by Netflix? Should gamification for our kids only be limited to things like chores and homework?