Enabling YouTube Safety Mode

YouTube Safety Mode enables safe searching and hides videos that have been flagged for containing inappropriate content

YouTube Safety Mode enables safe search and hides videos that have been flagged for containing inappropriate content. A recent update by Google allows for decoupling safe Google search from Youtube Safety Mode.

So by enabling YouTube for Schools, you’re limiting everyone’s ability to see videos that aren’t tagged as EDU or added to your own allow list. Then the list of people that are allowed to whitelist videos is something that you have to maintain manually.
– I.T. Admin on Forum

There is often a debate in schools about the use of YouTube, with common implementations falling into one of three categories: completely open access, YouTube for EDU, or altogether blocked. Allowing students to access a completely open YouTube can expose them to potentially inappropriate or distracting content. On the other hand, YouTube for EDU tends to be limiting, as teachers and admins are required to add one video at a time to their playlist. With the undeniable importance of YouTube as an educational tool, blocking YouTube altogether is not really a feasible option. The solution we recommend: YouTube Safety Mode.

YouTube Safety Mode is a setting that, similar to Google’s safe search, hides inappropriate content when enabled. Videos that have been flagged as being inappropriate by users for a host of reasons will not be accessible in this mode. The following string will need to be injected into the Cookie header of a YouTube traffic flow in order to enable Safety Mode:

  • PREF=f2=8000000

What follows is a description of how two of our customers are using YouTube Safety Mode to achieve a conducive learning environment.

  • Webb City R-VII School District, MO: Have turned on YouTube Safety mode for in-school filtering. Since the district believes that home is actually a less supervised environment, they turn on YouTube for Schools for their 1200 Chromebooks when they go home.
  • Romeo Community Schools, MI: YouTube Safety mode has been turned on for both school and home for 3300 Chromebooks. The Safety Mode is used in conjunction with URL based keyword blocking to achieve a learning environment that is in line with community standards. Keywords that lead to inappropriate content showing up are blacklisted on an as needed basis.

Note: A recent update to the Google Apps Admin Console allows for decoupling Google safe search from YouTube safety mode.