YouTube Restricted Mode: Teachers Can Approve Videos

As an educator you may have a love/hate relationship with YouTube. There are many educational and noneducational videos on YouTube that have child appropriate content.

Unfortunately, there is also a ton of videos on YouTube with inappropriate content. The technical process of separating the appropriate from the inappropriate is a lot more difficult than some may think.

Using YouTube restricted mode within the G Suite, teachers can filter and approve videos for students to watch in the classroom. You Tube can be a great tool in the classroom for kids when managed correctly. #schooledintech #youtube #teachers #school #edtech.

One change our district has made to combat this issue on Chromebooks and logged in Chrome browsers is to enable content restrictions. The blocking of videos is automatically done by Google. However, all teachers have the ability to allow students to watch a particular video or channel on YouTube.

Using YouTube Restricted Mode with Students

Three main things have changed for students when using YouTube on our Chromebooks.

  • When searching for videos, restricted videos will no longer show up in the search
  • Comments for videos are no longer shown
  • When trying to play a restricted video by using a link, the student will see this screen.

I should point out that these three changes are true regardless of whether the Chromebook is being used at school, at McDonalds, or on a home WiFi network.

Now, as I said in the beginning, teachers can override a YouTube block. They can allow a specific video or an entire YouTube Channel. Both are really easy to do.

When a teacher approves a video it is allowed for all students in the district.

Approving a Specific Video for Students

  1. Open
  2. Sign in with your school Google account (if not already.) You can do so by clicking on Sign In in the top right corner. If you are signed in you will see your account
  3. Search for the video you want to allow
  4. Under the video there will be a blue bar that either says the video is approved or there will be an “Approve” button.

    Once approved the video will be available for all students. Teachers can approve videos from anywhere, not just at school.

If you approve a video by mistake or decide later that the video should not be approved, you can click the Remove button

Read  Summer Chromebooks for Teachers


Videos will now be available for students signed into Chromebooks or signed in the Windows Chrome browser. Videos may still be blocked by our Internet filter for students using other browsers on Windows PC or if they have not signed into Chrome.

Approving an Entire Channel for Students

In some cases it makes sense to approve an entire channel rather than an individual video. This could even be your own Channel.

For example, let’s say you were watching the Official Trailer | KINGDOMS OF THE SKY video from PBS and you want to allow all videos on the PBS Channel.

  1. Under the video player you will see the account image for the Channel that provided the video.
  2. Click on it.
  3. This will take you to the Channel’s page
  4. Click Approve in the blue bar

Note:  Videos may still be blocked by our Internet filter for students using Windows PCs if they are not signed into the Chrome browser.

Enabling YouTube Restrictions in the Google Admin Console for Your Domain

This section is for Google domain admins.

  1. Open the Google Admin Console
  2. Open Apps
  3. Choose Additional Google Services
  4. Scroll through the pages until you find YouTube and click on it.
  5. Under Content settings click on Setup

  6. In the Setup section, click on the pencil
  7. Check the box next to Signed in users in your organization can only watch restricted and approved videos
  8. Click Save
  9. Next, in the Setup section, click YouTube Permissions settings
  10. On the left side of the screen you can choose which OU you want to set permissions for.We have our OUs setup this way:
    Elementary Student OUs – Strict restricted YouTube access
    Middle & High Student OUs – Moderate restricted YouTube access
    To allow teachers to approve YouTube videos we have our staff OUs – Can approve videos
  11. Click Save
Read  How To Manually Update & Keep Chromebooks Up To Date

Other than the video our staff specifically allows, Google controls what videos are automatically available for students in the two categories.

This is how Google define the different restriction levels.

View Approved Videos List

Have a questionable video or channel approved? As a Google Domain Admin you can see what channels and videos have been approved as well as when and by who.

When signed into the Admin Console you can access the list at Users who are not admins will get a 404 error when trying to access this list.

You can unapprove a video by clicking the X in the video list. Teachers can remove a video they approved using the same blue bar in YouTube.

The list is in descending chronological order from the date approved. Approved channels are listed before individual videos. So, keep scrolling!

I hope you found this information helpful. Make sure to check out my other Chromebook posts.

Thanks for reading and sharing!

6 Responses

  1. Hi Chip,
    Great article, very helpful.
    I too am struggling with approving certain Channels. Most of the channels I come across have the Blue bar at the top of the page, but some do not. More importantly our own school channel does not have the option/ blue bar to approve it, only the videos within the channel can be approved. Do you know a fix for this? Thank you in advance.

    1. The only time I have had an issue with the blue bar showing up is when a user has multiple YouTube channels and they weren’t looking at videos using the primary (first) one. You can swap through your channels by clicking on you profile picture in the top right corner.

  2. I’ve been struggling with the ability to approve channels. Some channels show up as being able to be approved, however others do not. The individual videos can be approved but there is no blue bar saying ‘approve channel.’ It’s not consistent however. Any idea what is at work there? I’m trying to have teachers approve their own channel so they can add videos and have them automatically be approved vs. one by one. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Chip,

      The only time I have had an issue with the blue bar showing up is when a user has multiple YouTube channels and they weren’t looking at videos using the primary (first) one. You can swap through your channels by clicking on you profile picture in the top right corner.

    2. Hi Chip,

      I hope you already found a solution to the problem with the approve channel bar not showing up.
      If not or in case others may find it useful, adding ?disable_polymer=true to the end of the YouTube Channel URL is what worked in our district.

      Best of luck.

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