YouTube is an incredible resource in K12 for learning opportunities. It hosts a plethora of excellent content available for educating users on any range of subjects. It can also be a wonderful resource for wasting time if not kept in check. Let’s take a look at the confusing waters of YouTube settings, what the settings mean, and how they are best configured.
Recently Google changed how YouTube is handled overall as a service. First off, many schools are noticing that their users are no longer able to create Brand accounts. This is wonderful news for those who want to prevent students from bypassing the settings provided by a brand account. On the other side of the argument though, schools are no longer able to delegate management of centralized school content channel to users with their Google Workspace accounts.
When a user has switched to a brand channel, they no longer see the Whitelisted videos or restrictions an admin placed on the User’s Account settings. Many reported that students could not see Approved Videos. Since Restricted Mode was implemented using Network Settings and users weren’t using their “school accounts,” whitelists were being ignored. If Network Restrictions were not in place on the school networks, users would be able to browse YouTube unrestricted.
Speaking about Whitelisting videos, Approving YouTube Videos can be done in a few ways. You can use the Classroom Teachers group by Organizational Unit (or combination of the two), and any Super Admin can approve videos when the Content Settings > Signed in users in your organization can only watch restricted and approved videos setting is set to ON. But there are some tricks that can be done with approving content.
This checkbox in the Admin console is really the master switch for all the settings within the YouTube Additional Service to be enabled. This enables you to configure Permissions and once they are configured to flip this switch.
Just because the video says it’s not approved doesn’t mean it isn’t viewable by users. You don’t need to approve every video, and you can check a video by changing the setting within YouTube to Restricted Mode from the bottom of the page and going back to the video.
It’s also much easier to manage Approve Channels rather than videos. This is done by navigating to the channel’s homepage and clicking the Approve button within the blue bar that will show up on the page. If the channel does not show the blue “Approve this channel” bar, you can add ?disable_polymer=true to the end of the URL and it will show up.
Lastly, it is a good practice to keep in mind that what you approve for users will be available for the entire domain. A full list of the approved videos is available for any user that can approve videos (including teachers if you let them approve videos) by navigating to this site. Review this list regularly and ensure that the best practices that you have trained users on are indeed being followed.
Many find that issues which arise with the management of videos within YouTube cannot be handled by using the Settings within the Admin console alone. For those that are wanting additional control over what users can see on YouTube as a platform, it would be worth your time setting up a meeting with our Specialist Sales Lead, Tanya Holloran, to see what platforms can solve your additional needs.
If you would like assistance with managing your settings, book some time in with our support team by reaching out to email@example.com.