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YouTube – Understanding Restricted Mode

The Lee’s Summit School District is required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and Board Policy EHB to have a content filter in place to restrict student access to content that is considered illegal for students.  YouTube moved content available to education away from YouTube for Education and it is now filtered via a system they call YouTube Restricted Mode.  

The YouTube Restricted Mode is turned on for all student Google accounts and students are not given an option to turn the setting off on their account.  Staff have the ability to turn YouTube Restricted Mode “off” and “on” for their staff account.

There are times when a website will “identify incorrectly and lock” all district traffic due to suspicious activity.  This has happened a few times this year with YouTube.  That is not abnormal simply because we have high volume of YouTube traffic.  It can be very frustrating for staff members because when it occurs they lose the ability to turn off Restricted Mode.  When it occurs, technology immediately begins a process to isolate the suspicious traffic and resolve the issue.  Staff accounts are set to allow them to change their own settings in Restricted Mode as mentioned in a previous post.  But when the suspicious traffic signal gets marked at YouTube, they lose this ability.

Here are some key items to help you understand YouTube Restricted Mode:

  • YouTube is owned by Google and they manage whether or not a video is “Restricted”. According to their help resources, they algorithmically restrict content that’s available through this setting.
  • Occasionally videos may get classified incorrectly by the algorithm. No algorithm is perfect, and they acknowledge this.

What can a teacher do if a video is flagged as restricted that they feel should not be restricted?

  • The teacher can turn off Restricted Mode (using the directions above) on their machine and show the video to the class as a group.
  • At this time, Google has not offered a solution to us for to open up videos for groups of students. We continue to advocate changes in this process specifically due to the impact in Connect2Learn and flipped classroom models.

What can a teacher do if a video is not flagged as Restricted that they believe should be restricted?

  • Google allows users to report content they feel should be added to restricted mode with “Flagging”. Please find directions at this link.
  • Note videos do not instantly become Restricted. YouTube uses this flagging system to identify content that needs to be further reviewed.