Netflix is testing out a new feature that would reward children for watching more content. In the experiment, which is only available to a select group of users, kids are being given collectible patches for watching episodes of certain shows.

This is called gamification, and it’s pretty common across the technology sector. Your Snapchat score and Xbox Achievements are both examples of gamification. However, while it isn’t uncommon, this Netflix experiment isn’t going down well with parents.

Watch Shows, Earn Patches

Netflix’s collectible patches are a simple idea. Each show has a number of patches assigned to it, and when kids watch episodes of that show they get awarded the patches on offer. And they’ll keep earning more patches the longer they carry on watching netflix.

Right now, the patches don’t actually do anything. They don’t unlock new content, and they can’t be cashed in for something more useful. However, should the experiment prove to be a success Netflix could change the way this reward structure works.

Netflix’s testing of collectible patches was first noted on Twitter in February. Variety then reported on the experiment, and opinions started coming in thick and fast. Leading to Netflix issuing a statement explaining the logic behind this little experiment.

“We are testing a new feature on select kids titles that introduces collectible items for a more interactive experience, adding an element of fun and providing kids something to talk about and share around the titles they love. We learn by testing and this feature may or may not become part of the Netflix experience.”

A Binge-Watching Bonanza

Parents and child advocacy groups, which have already complained about Messenger Kids, have expressed concerns. The main issue being that this could lead to children binge-watching Netflix even more than they do already. Which isn’t exactly healthy.

Given the extreme reactions I seriously doubt that Netflix will introduce collectible patches for kids. But just in case it may be worth parents reading up on how gamification is changing your life and why gamification is not a magic bullet.

Image Credit: Sarah Joy via Flickr


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