GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Greenville County students are no longer able to access YouTube from their district-issued devices, including Chromebooks.
Greenville County Schools said it made the decision this week after YouTube and its parent company, Google, changed how inappropriate videos are filtered.
“Recently, from what I understand, YouTube and its parent company, Google, made changes to its filtering system, which made it virtually impossible for school districts like ours to filter out some of the inappropriate content,” Tim Waller, the district’s director of media relations, said.
Waller said this left the district with no choice but to block YouTube on all district issued devices.
“School districts like ours have an obligation to protect students from inappropriate content,” Waller said. “There is a federal law. It’s CIPA, the Children’s Internet Protection Act.”
According to the school district, the problem stems from videos labeled as ‘YouTube Shorts,’ which are short videos similar to TikToks.
“With the short videos, where they’re constantly going from one to the next, that’s what makes it impossible to filter this out,” Waller explained.
YouTube is not the first site the district has blocked access to.
“TikTok is blocked,” Waller said. “Facebook is blocked. Twitter, which is now called X, is blocked. Instagram is blocked. As a general rule, most social media sites are blocked.”
Educational YouTube videos have often been used by teachers in the classroom.
Waller said many of these videos have already been approved for teachers to continue using. If a teacher finds a new educational YouTube video they want to show their students, there will be an approval process they can follow.
Once the video is approved, it will be uploaded to Google Classroom.
“If a teacher identifies something as, ‘This could be useful for the classroom,’ he or she could get approval through our Educational Technology Services to bring that into the ecosystem and allow students to have access to that,” Waller explained.