YouTube’s New Parental Control Feature. Adds Safety Mode For It’s Already Safe Content

Day before yesterday, YouTube introduced a new option dubbed ‘Safety Mode’, essentially giving YouTube users a bit more control over what they get to see on the insanely popular video sharing site. This new option allows you to filter out the sort of videos you may find offensive, whether that’s those featuring adult content or violence or some other objectionable content. It will even filter out profanity from the YouTube comments. This recent update in YouTube is inline with Google’s use of Colored Balls when it added ‘Lock’ Feature to its SafeSearch!

YouTube's New Parental Control Feature. Adds Safety Mode For It's Already Safe Content

It’s easy to opt in to Safety Mode: Just click on the link at the bottom of any video page. You can even lock your choice on that browser with your YouTube password. To learn more, check out the video below. Obviuosly, Safety Mode isn’t fool proof, but it provides a greater degree of control over your YouTube experience. Safety Mode has been rolled out to all users; watch for the new link at the bottom of any YouTube page.

Unlike Google’s SafeSearch, which allows visitors to use “moderate” or “strict” filtering rules when viewing pictures in Google Search, YouTube’s Safety Search can only be toggled on or off. According to Google, Safety Mode on YouTube works browser-wide, rather than being limited to a single user name. Therefore, anyone accessing YouTube videos from the same browser, regardless of whether they have a separate YouTube account or if they’re logged in, will be blocked from viewing mature content.

YouTube already has fairly strict guidelines for what is acceptable, but enabling Safety Mode will make it that much more family-friendly, eliminating videos that feature violence or adult material. Safety Mode also hides comments by default, and filters out swears if the user chooses to view them.

Google clearly cares a great deal about keeping YouTube’s image whistle-clean, in part so that brands feel comfortable advertising there. Interestingly, Google still hosts Not-Safe content, of course, but keeps it on Google Video.

To try this new feature out, I turned on safety mode but was able to view a video that showed violence. Sounds like YouTube guys have the right idea but haven’t thought this through properly yet. Web filtering companies have dealt with this for years (with parental control features blocking categories of websites/webpages). YouTube might want to consider talking to them about how to do this a bit better.

Some may argue that “Safety Mode” isn’t really intended to be a parental control mechanism – it’s just meant to be a handy filter for those of us with more delicate sensibilities. But YouTube’s own demo video states otherwise. “Safety Mode is an opt-in setting that helps screen out potentially objectionable content that you may prefer not to see or don’t want others in your family to stumble across while enjoying YouTube,” says the narrator. Who do you suppose those “others in your family” are? Granddad? Uncle Bob? No. Clearly YouTube is positioning the new setting as an option for parents.

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