YouTube Safety Mode Hiding Religious Content

OK, so the headline is a bit of click bait, but I am getting rather frustrated with the lack of information that is available about how YouTube filters video behind their safety filter. I think that the main reason why there isn’t a bigger outcry about this is because most people don’t realize it is happening. So if you upload YouTube videos here is what you need to know.

  1. There is a Safety Mode in YouTube that allows children to browse through their site in a slightly more walled garden.
  2. From what I can tell this mode is partially created by people flagging the videos, partially by the creators marking the videos as age restricted, and partially by some random computer calculation.
  3. Unsafe videos in Safety Mode will not show up on browsers with Safety Mode enabled even if the user has a direct link.
  4. Unsafe videos will not come up in searches or appear on channel pages. (this is great because I can let my 8-year-old search on YouTube and he won’t even see that parts of the site are being restricted)
  5. (here is where things get weird) If your videos get placed in the “unsafe” category (meaning they will not be seen with Safety Mode on) you will not be notified about this.
  6. Visitors who have a direct link to your videos or who click on playlists that contain unsafe videos will be shown the picture like the one above.
  7. Right now there is no official way to get your video off the “unsafe” list. Unlike when there is a copyright dispute there is no way to ask YouTube to look at your video and check to see if it is offensive.
  8. There is a forum that you can check out here that has a helpful administrator who claims to be directing blocked videos to YouTube. Some people had had success this way others haven’t
  9. If you have uploaded videos in the past to YouTube and have noticed a drop in view counts you may want to turn on Safety Mode and see if your videos are being blocked as well.
  10. I don’t really have a 10, but I need the symmetry

As for the religious nature of the whole thing I’m not exactly sure if that is what is causing the problem or if it is something else. The videos that I am posting on are staying free and clear of the safety filter, but the ones that I posted to our church site so that kids could watch the devotions are being blocked.

I have to say I was a little embarrassed to give parents a link to our Faitcraft devotions only to have them be taken to a screen that says “this video may have inappropriate material.” It makes things a little hard to explain.

I am writing this mainly because I can’t find anyone talking about it outside of that one forum, yet it seems to be a widespread issue. I also wanted to show you a video that has been blocked by YouTube. You won’t be able to see it if you have Safety Mode on, but you have to admit the kid is pretty cute.


3 thoughts on “YouTube Safety Mode Hiding Religious Content

  • December 26, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    I don’t think that there is a rhyme or reason why videos get flagged as I have had a test video flagged that I put up that only had a title of “test”, no tags, no sound, and was about a 10 second video of a blank page. I’ve had some of my videos fixed but still have some older videos that are still flagged as having inappropriate content. And yes it is not only embarrassing but can also cost me visitors if they think I’m posting inappropriate content!

  • February 1, 2018 at 5:50 PM

    Hold on now. As a parent, I’m VERY happy to hear that videos with religious content are being blocked. In fact, I wish they were blocked more consistently. It’s incredibly annoying to walk in on my kid hearing about normally complex and controversial subjects when he barely even knows how to put his shoes on the right feet. I DON’T want my four year old being indoctrinated into some religion while I’m washing dishes. Imagine if somebody was sneaking propaganda into your kid’s bible verses.

    I also happen to think it’s immoral for other parents to indoctrinate their children, but, that said, for the sake of parents who consider their children mature enough to be exposed to that content and process it discerningly, I think perhaps an option giving parents the freedom to specifically block or allow religious content should be added. Maybe you should write to YouTube to suggest it? All I ask is that you be considerate of those of us who would NOT like their children to see religious content.

    • February 1, 2018 at 7:14 PM

      O I agree that there should be some sort of filter that allows me to choose what to block and what to allow. It would be nice if Safety Mode had some sort of gradations that you could apply.

      The problem with how it was being handled back in 2014 (I haven’t really looked into it since then) is that it would just say that the content was inappropriate without explaining why the content was inappropriate. I would have been fine with a label that said, “this video contains religious material” because then people in my church who I was sending to see the videos wouldn’t think I was sharing traditional inappropriate content.

      (BTW, just because I am curious what sort of search brought you to


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