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What does Y mean on Netflix?

The letter “Y” on Netflix is an age rating that signals the program contains content suitable for ages 7 and up. Netflix uses a simple rating system to help guide viewers, particularly parents, in determining if content is age-appropriate. The ratings provide a quick glimpse into the level of sex, violence, substance use, and profanity in TV shows and movies on the streaming service. Understanding what the “Y” rating means can empower viewers to make informed entertainment choices for themselves and their families.

What the “Y” Rating Stands For

The “Y” on Netflix stands for “Youth”. Specifically, it signals content appropriate for children ages 7 and up. Programs with a “Y” rating contain little to no objectionable material. This rating indicates the film or series has only minimal coarse language, suggestive themes, or violence. There may be some comedic violence, including cartoon slapstick, but it is mild. Brief kisses and slightly suggestive material may occur occasionally. But overall, content with a “Y” rating has nothing most parents would consider too troubling for young elementary school-aged kids.

How the “Y” Netflix Rating Compares to Other Age Ratings

To understand the “Y” rating, it helps to see how it fits in with the other age ratings used by Netflix. The streaming service uses the following ratings:


This signals content suitable for all children ages 0-6. Programs with a “TV-Y” rating contain no objectionable material and are aimed specifically at very young viewers.


The “TV-Y7” rating means content is generally suitable for children 7 years and older. There may be some cartoon violence or non-intense fantasy violence, but nothing too disturbing or graphic. These programs are still specifically designed for young audiences.


This stands for “General Audiences” and indicates material suitable for all ages. Programs with a “TV-G” rating may contain minimal violence and some comedic violence, but nothing overtly graphic or disturbing. There is no strong language or sexual themes. Generally safe for even sensitive younger viewers but engaging enough for older kids and adults too.


The “PG” rating signals content with guidance suggested for younger viewers. Programs with this rating may contain some profanity, suggestive themes, scary elements, or moderate violence. But these elements are not pervasive or intense. Parental guidance is recommended.


This signals parents strongly cautioned for viewers under 14. Content with this rating contains themes and elements that are not suitable for young teens. There may be strong language, sexual situations, suggestive dialogue, strong innuendo, and intense violence.


The “MA” rating means content is specifically designed for mature adult audiences. These programs contain persistent graphic violence, intense sexuality, strong language, and explicit drug use. Viewers under 17 should absolutely not view this content.


This parallels an R rating for films by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). It signals content restricted for viewers under 17 without adult supervision. Programs with an “R” rating contain persistent adult themes and content throughout. They are inappropriate viewing for teenagers.

So in this rating spectrum, the “Y” designation signifies content that is mild enough for pre-school kids but remains engaging for youth as old as age 7. It indicates material free of graphic sex, violence, language, and drugs. The “Y” rating comes before “PG”, signaling more age-appropriate content for very young viewers. It provides parents assurance they can allow their elementary school-aged children to watch without major concerns.

Why Age Ratings Matter

Age and content ratings exist to help match programming with appropriate audiences. Ratings empower parents, caregivers, and viewers themselves to make informed choices about entertainment.

For parents specifically, age ratings are a first defense in protecting children from exposure to content that could be disturbing, distressing, or simply developmentally inappropriate. Ratings give busy parents a quick reference to gauge if content aligns with their family’s values and the maturity level of their individual child.

Age ratings are also useful for child care providers, teachers, librarians, and all adults charged with guiding children’s media consumption. Ratings allow them to point young viewers to engaging, enriching content that matches developmental stages.

For older viewers selecting their own programming, ratings provide guidance in determining if content is right for their age group and sensibilities. Individual teens or mature viewers can use ratings to avoid content packed with graphic violence, sexuality, language, or drugs if they so choose.

And of course, ratings help content creators themselves design and market appropriately to target audiences. Overall, age and content ratings offer an efficient system for matching entertainment with suitable viewers in modern media-saturated times.

Factors That Earn a “Y” Rating

What exactly gets a TV show or movie a “Y” rating in the first place? The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) oversees movie ratings, while TV Parental Guidelines monitor television shows. Teams of parents watch and rate all content across a wide variety of factors including:


A “Y” rating means little to no coarse or crass language. Words like “hell” or “damn” may occur infrequently. But stronger expletives and sexual slang do not appear.


Violence earning a “Y” rating is mild, infrequent, and not graphic. It may contain comedic slapstick, fantasy violence, or action without focus on harmful effects. There is no blood and gore.

Sexual Situations

With a “Y” rating, there is no nudity or overt sexual activity shown. Affectionate kissing between characters may occur on occasion.

Drug/Alcohol Use

A “Y” signals no references or depictions of illegal substances. Alcohol consumption may be referenced but not actively shown.

Scary/Intense Content

Frightening or emotionally intense content is absent or very minimal. Fantasy scariness may occur if buffered by comic relief.

Rating Factor Allowances
Language No coarse/sexual language
Violence Mild, comedic, fantasy violence only
Sexual Content No nudity or sexual situations
Drugs/Alcohol No references to illegal drugs, no alcohol consumption shown
Scary/Intense Content Absent or very minimal

Examples of TV Shows and Movies Rated “Y”

To give a better sense of exactly what earns a “Y” rating, here are some examples of well-known shows and films featuring content suitable for ages 7 and up:

TV Shows

  • Arthur
  • Martha Speaks
  • Wild Kratts
  • Odd Squad
  • Sesame Street
  • Dora the Explorer
  • Pokémon
  • Peppa Pig

These programs for elementary school-aged kids feature some mild cartoon violence and name-calling at most. But content stays totally family-friendly with no profanity, sex, drugs, or gore.


  • The Princess Diaries
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • The Lion King
  • Despicable Me
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  • Mary Poppins
  • The Parent Trap (1961)
  • Holes
  • Babe
  • Shrek

These popular children’s and family films may feature some comedic fantasy violence and the occasional first crush. But ultimately they contain only very mild and infrequent potentially concerning elements.

There are plenty more “Y” rated shows and movies perfect for family viewing or ages 7+. Just a few more examples include Scooby-Doo, Hey Arnold, The Magic School Bus, The Goonies, Matilda, Home Alone, and more.

Bottom Line on the Netflix “Y” Rating

So in summary, the “Y” on Netflix signals youth content containing nothing most parents would consider inappropriate for kids as young as 7 years old. A “Y” rating means:

  • Little to no coarse language
  • Only mild and infrequent violence of a comedic or fantasy nature
  • No sexual situations, nudity, or references to sexual activity
  • No references to illegal drugs or substance abuse
  • Minimal emotionally intense or frightening content

Of course, personal sensitivities vary. What feels acceptable for one 7-year-old may seem too mature for another child the exact same age. So parents know their own children best. Use the “Y” designation as a starting guidepost, but always consider your own family’s principles. Don’t hesitate to explore reviews, guidance from trusted sources, or watch alongside your kids.

Age ratings offer a convenient first glance to gauge if content appeals and seems suitable. The Netflix “Y” marking in particular can direct viewers to titles with just minimal concerning elements for young elementary school-aged audiences. But nothing beats parents and caregivers making fully informed entertainment choices for the unique children in their care.


The “Y” rating on Netflix content contains little to no questionable or mature material suitable for general audiences, especially children ages 7 and older. Films and shows with a “Y” category feature only small amounts of comedic violence, rude language, romance, and scary content well within most parents’ comfort levels for kids at the 1st through 3rd grade learning stage. Ratings provide helpful age guidance. But parents know their children best and must use their own judgment in ultimately deciding if “Y” rated programming matches their family’s principles and their child’s maturity and sensitivities.