Find Family-Friendly Shows Online

Grow Up Online 001

Q: What is Hulu and is it for kids?

Hulu is a free online video service that offers videos, hit TV shows and clips on demand. The service is free; all you need is a computer and a broadband Internet connection. There are more than 1,700 prime-time episodes from hits like The Simpsons and The Office, movies like Last of the Mohicans, and clips from favorite shows like Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live. There’s something for everyone on Hulu, and you can think about it like you do television programming.

Some programs are for kids, like classic cartoons. But other shows, like Desperate Housewives and Fringe, are not for children. And there are others, like Rabid Grannies and The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant, (I’m not making these up), that are really not for children.

Hulu offers fun viewing alternatives for families, at no cost, but just like television, you need to supervise children when choosing programs.

Use the channels. Narrow your searches when browsing TV shows or movies by using the channel feature. You can avoid the Horror channel and focus on the Family channel, where you’ll find shows like old cartoon episodes of Spider-Man, Speed Racer and Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends. Notice Hulu’s Family channel also contains shows that are not appropriate for every child.

Look at descriptions. Most videos offer a description of the video, some offer ratings, and all list channel designations.

Be aware of commercials. Advertising supports these sites, so realize commercials will play during programs.

Log out of your account. You don’t need an account to watch videos on Hulu, but creating a Hulu account allows you to do several things, one of which is to watch videos rated R or with mature content. If you have a Hulu account, log out when you’re not viewing. Also be aware that anyone (including children) can easily create an account and gain full access to inappropriate content.

Consider other sources. Kid-friendly sites similar to Hulu are popping up fast. Jaroo ( offers kid-only content, like Madeline and Adventures of Paddington. (which is AOL’s kid’s portal) also offers old favorites under the Cartoon and Videos tab, like The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Scooby Doo and The Pink Panther!

Warning: Time flies when you’re watching old cartoons! I found myself singing to favorite show tunes of The Flintstones and The Jetsons much longer than intended.

Sharon Cindrich is the mother of two and author of American Girl’s A Smart Girl’s Guide to the Internet and A Smart Girl’s Guide to Style. Learn more at

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