YouTube ‘Safety Mode’ does not go far enough

12 Feb 2010

The new ‘Safety Mode’ introduced by YouTube is a step in the right direction but does not go far enough in ensuring the online safety of children, the head of web filtering firm Bloxx claims.

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,” Eamon Doyle said.

“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.

“Interestingly, a recent Ofsted report entitled ‘The Safe Use of New Technologies’ claimed students are safest using the internet when they are trusted to manage their own risk.

“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,” Doyle said.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years