According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) children watch approximately 28 hours of television a week, and on an average, television programs display 812 violent acts per hour. Worrisomely, children’s programmes, particularly cartoons, display up to 20 violent acts an hour. What this means is that our children land up viewing more than 200,000 acts of violence, including more than 16,000 murders before age 18. Further, according to a study, frequent exposure to violence in video games leads to a reduced feeling of guilt about violence and lower levels of empathy.

teens playing violent video game

Video games are constantly becoming more gruesome


What can be done about it?

Of course, our children are exposed to violence in media on a daily basis to such an extent it’s impossible to filter it out entirely. But one way you can curate the content your children have access to is with technology. Digital media players are a boon for parents. With this, you can filter the content your children have access to and ensure it’s ethical and age-appropriate. Digital Media Players stream movies, TV Shows and videos, play video games, browse the internet, and video chat via webcam. Some popular brands include Google Chromecast,  TiVo Bolt, NVIDIA Shield TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku’s various offerings including Roku Streaming Stick, Roku Premiere+, Roku Ultra and Roku Express+. Phew! That’s a lot of names! So which of these are the frontrunners in this race?


Watch this video to get the details (and pros and cons) on 4 popular ones.

Apple TV v/s Roku Ultra

Apple TV and Roku Ultra are the latest offerings by two of the most popular brands which offer great features.

The Roku Ultra comes from the Roku stable, which has offered an impressive and well-received lineup of media streaming devices since it launched in mid-2008. The Roku Ultra was all launched in October 2016 and offers resolution up to 4K HDR, which means that if you have (or are intending to buy) a 4K TV, you’ll certainly love this for its sharper, larger-than-life picture quality. There are innumerable “Channels” (including popular ones like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, and Google Play) and games (including the rather-popular Angry Birds Toons, Sudoku and Jeopardy) which you can access on Roku, and it all comes at a pretty value-for-money price of $130. This model also has a handy voice search option, but you don’t have a digital assistant like Siri or Alexa to do more. And if you stream a lot of your content from the iTunes Store, this probably isn’t the device for you, since that isn’t supported.


If that’s the case, the Apple TV is a better bet because it integrates seamlessly with all your Apple products. So you could have watched 10 minutes of a show on the subway home, you can pick up where you left off on your TV thanks to the Apple TV. It will gladly access everything on the iTunes Store, apart from other sources like Hulu, HBO etc. However, you can’t watch Amazon Prime on it and it’s maximum resolution goes up to 1080p. But by far the most useful distinguishing feature that would push me to choose the Apple TV is Siri, which makes it very easy to use the Apple TV. One surprising little detail that I loved was that I can ask Siri what a character just said mid-stream, and she will back up 30 seconds and turn on subtitles for that bit. With a pricetag of $149-$199 depending on the model you choose, this is certainly more expensive than the Roku, but it has it’s advantages.

6 crucial differences between the Roku Ultra and Apple TV explained

So which of these is right for me?

Choose the Apple TV if it is important to perfectly integrate with iOS. Like all Apple products, it is well-designed and stable, and although it is more expensive, it has lesser content available on it and doesn’t offer 4K.

However, the Roku Ultra is better for you if you have a 4K TV. Apart from that, the Roku also has a wider palette of content available, and at a lower price point..

How does one set up parental controls on these devices?

As a parent, one of my central reasons for buying one of these was to curate the content my children watch. Both the Roku Ultra and the Apple TV adopt commonly-accepted age ratings which are proposed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board. Based on that, you can place age restrictions on what your kids are watching. And it’s pretty simple to set this up on either device. Watch how in the videos below

Watch how easy it is to make the content on Roku’s Youtube app safe for your kids to watch. Similarly, you can do this for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO Go etc.


Setting up filters on your Apple TV is equally convenient.

Apart from this, both also allow you to set up controls on who is allowed access to a new channel, or to make in-app purchases. These can be made only against a 4-digit pin, if you choose that in the settings. Similarly, explicit language in podcasts, music and even Siri (in the case of Apple TV) can be restricted. Both media players also offer you an option to hide specific channels, apps or features from the main screen, which is really quite handy.

We grew up in a simpler world; the stimuli our children are exposed to mean that we have to evolve. One of the easiest ways to offer our children easy and varied access to appropriate content is with a digital media player. It is naturally important to monitor the content your child is watching and the video games they are playing, but this information will also help open a dialogue about some difficult issues and bring us closer to our children in the process. Parenting has always been a bewildering process through the ages, but we are lucky to live in an era when one can buy devices like the Roku Ultra and Apple TV and save ourselves a little bit of worry.


mother and 2 toddlers watching TV together

Let a Digital Media Player be a partner in your parenting process


Share post with: