YouTube unveils safety mode to block inappropriate content

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Claims made that it will only have a minor impact.

YouTube has introduced a 'Safety Mode' that blocks videos with mature content, objectionable material, or age restrictions from search results.

The company said that it was introducing the opt-in setting that helps screen out potentially objectionable content "that you may prefer not to see or do not want others in your family to stumble across while enjoying YouTube".

Associate product manager Jamie Davidson admitted that while no filter is 100 per cent perfect, "Safety Mode is another step in our ongoing desire to give you greater control over the content you see on the site."

The service is activated by clicking on a link at the bottom of any video page.

Eamonn Doyle, chief executive officer of Bloxx, said that YouTube was taking a step in the right direction in acknowledging that there is inappropriate content on YouTube, but claimed that it does not go far enough in ensuring the online safety of children.

Doyle said: "Google's system can be easily turned off by clicking on the link at the bottom of the screen, logging on as a different user, connecting with a different browser, or deleting the browser cookies.

"What is needed is a system that offers age verification and categorisation and provides an auditable approval process to track who is accessing the content, which is especially crucial when YouTube is being used in schools.

"While I would fully endorse the need to ensure that students, parents and education professionals receive ongoing education about online risks and dangers to ensure that they remain safe online, beyond education there is still is a huge need for schools and local authorities to deploy smart filtering technology that allows students to have open access to educational content but provides real-time protection against inappropriate content."

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