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YouTube Safety Mode: Not So Safe

youtube_safety_not_safeYouTube announced the introduction of its safety mode a couple months ago, but how well does it work? Not very. Try it for yourself. You can activate safety mode by scrolling down to the bottom of the YouTube homepage and clicking “Safety mode: Off” to “On” and hitting “Save.” While it does prevent certain searches from yielding results, it’s not quite comprehensive enough. For example, searching for “sex” comes up with nothing, but search “sex scenes” and you get over 7,000 results.

As YouTube’s PR rep says, “We’re not getting into the business of children’s media. Safety Mode is not meant to create a G-rated experience, and no filter is 100% accurate.” So how is a parent to ensure that their child isn’t seeing something explicitly sexual or violent on YouTube?

I wish I had an answer.

How do you make sure that your kids aren’t seeing inappropriate material on YouTube? Is there anything you can do besides banning the site altogether?

More at Gadgetwise. Photo by courosa.

8 Responses to “YouTube Safety Mode: Not So Safe”

  1. Sarah Hirsch

    Even innocent searches can turn up dangerous results. My kids started watching some cartoon with happy or cute in the name, and halfway through, all the cartoon animals get their heads sliced off. I think we just need to keep the kids off youtube unless supervised, and parents should know what they're watching ahead of time to avoid surprises like mine!

  2. Meghan Harvey

    My son loves to look up stuff on youtube and I let him, but only when I'm right there with him. The only way to truly guarantee that your child isn't ending up watching something they shouldn't be is by supervising them. That goes for any website where they have access to stuff that is uploaded from the public.

  3. Wagworx

    Thank you for the article. The more parents that know about the "Safety Features" the better our children will be. At we have create browser add-ons for Internet Explorer and Firefox that will redirect our Little Surfers if inappropriate content is found in the caption track. We created it out of necessity because I have 2 children that love watching videos on YouTube.

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