After having expanded to support almost any platform under the sun, somehow Kodi still doesn’t support what any parent would regard as a dealbreaker: parental controls.
Thankfully, there is a way around that so that you won’t find your toddler watching “Return of the Living Dead” instead of “Toy Story.” By the end of this article, you will have a “child-safe” Kodi setup for some peace of mind when the kids have access to the remote without supervision.
Assuming that you already have Kodi installed, the very first thing you should do is split your collection into two different folders: one with “child-friendly” content, the other with anything else.
Set Up Your Profiles
Run Kodi and select the gear icon on the top left to enter its Settings screen. There, click “Profile settings.”
In the “General” tab of options, turn on “Show login screen on startup” to enable profile support in Kodi.
Move to the second tab of options, “Profiles,” and click on “Add profile …”
Enter a name for a new account for the kids. You can enter anything you wish, like “kids” or their names.
Kodi will ask you to choose a different folder for their profile if you so wish, but there’s no problem in just clicking OK to accept the predefined one.
In the “Edit profile” dialogue, leave anything as is, but double-check that both “Media info” and “Media sources” are set as “Separate.” This defines that this new account will have access to different content than the default master account.
If you were already using Kodi before and had configured it and your hardware to your liking, when asked if you want to “Start with fresh settings or copy from default,” you can choose “Copy default.”
You should now have two profiles in Kodi: the default that shows up as Master user and the new one you created for the kids.
Select the Master user profile, and from the “Edit profile” dialogue, choose “Lock preferences.”
Enable the “Master lock” option that allows you to restrict access for the selected profile.
Continue by choosing the type of “lock” you prefer. We went for a classic “Numeric password.”
Enter your password and double-check that it is correct.
Leave every other option as is and restart Kodi to see your newly set-up profiles in action.
Add the Content
After you rerun Kodi, and it asks you to select a profile, choose the one for the kids.
Since this is the first login with this new profile, Kodi will ask you if you want to customize it by changing its name, its picture, or setting up some restrictions. Skip it for now and click OK to proceed.
Move to the movies section of Kodi’s primary interface that will be empty. To eradicate this small problem, click on “Add videos …”
In the “Add video source” dialogue, click on “Browse,” find, and select the folder with all the child-friendly movies. The name of this “media source” will be auto-populated with the name of the selected folder. If you wish, though, you can change it to something else.
As a next step, Kodi will ask you about the contents of this directory. Click on “This directory contains” and change it to “Movies.”
Kodi will set up the rest of the options for this “media source,” depending on your choice of content. You can tweak them if you want – for example, changing from where it will “pull information” about your movies by swapping the “information provider” – but you don’t have to. Click on OK when you’re done.
When asked, “Do you want to refresh information for all items within this path?” answer positively, to have Kodi scan the contents of the folder, pull information about them, and add them to the profile’s library.
If you added separate folders for episodic content, repeat the procedure for them, but change their content type to “TV shows.”
When you return to the main interface, and after some time for scanning, Kodi will display all the child-friendly content just like your kids will see it.
Log out of Kodi or exit and restart the application. This time, choose to log in as the “Master user.”
You will be asked to enter the code you set up earlier to be able to access this restricted profile.
Just like you did for the kids account, go to the movies section, but this time add as media sources, both the child-friendly and other folders.
This will give you all content available for the primary account and no adult content for the kids account.
Kids are smarter than we give them credit for, and nothing prevents them from accessing their “hidden” content by browsing for it through Kodi’s settings – just like we did. At least, nothing prevents them yet.
Go again to Kodi’s settings by clicking on the gear icon, return to the profile section, choose the kids’ account, and from the “Edit profile” dialogue, select “Lock preferences.”
This time, instead of setting up the equivalent of a password, enable the rest of the “Lock…” settings, to disable almost everything but playback for the active account.
After one last log-off and return to Kodi, you’ll have a) an entirely unrestricted but password-protected Master account and b) a free-to-use account that does not allow changes to settings or access to all content for the minors in the family.
As a final step, set Kodi to autostart together with your desktop, and you’ll be done setting up parental controls for Kodi. And don’t forget to install these addons to stream your favorite shows or sports.