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"Contenido Muy Inadecuado"


Your high school Spanish students have been extremely excited about a recent project in your class. Students have been writing scripts and acting out “commercials” in Spanish for imaginary products. You have recorded the commercials on a digital camcorder and uploaded the videos to YouTube. The response has been very positive to these videos, and several students have uploaded them to their personal MySpace pages and blogs to share them with friends.

However, one of your students, Olivia, just forwarded you a comment written in response to one of the videos in which she participated and asks for help translating. The comment is in Spanish and contains several sexual references and curse words. When Olivia clicks on the commenter's username to find out more about the person, she sees videos with sexual content. What do you tell your students about the comment and what Olivia saw, and how do you advise them to respond?

Response to Student:

  1. Thank Olivia for bringing the problem to your attention. Ask if she made any attempt to respond or contact the inappropriate commenter.
  2. Contact her guidance counselor to discuss any counseling that may be required, administrator to see if or what further action should take place and the technology staff should also be aware of the situation in case further action is required.
  3. Explain to the class what has occurred and let them know that Olivia (or a classmate, if Olivia would like to remain anonymous) followed the correct procedure in bring this to the teachers immediate attention.
  4. Reassure the class that that majority of comments are usually positive. Negative or inappropriate comments are rare but knowing how to handle the situation is important.
  5. Inform them to make their video "private". The following steps and link will provide them with information on how to share their video with classmates and parents only: http://support.google.com/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=157177.
  6. Another option would be to disable comments. The following link provides the steps to do so: http://support.google.com/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=58123
  7. Use this as a "teachable moment" to review YouTube's Community Guidelines so students are familiar both with what they can post and what they can identify and report as abuse.

Response to Parents:

  1. Call Olivia's parents first and let them know about the situation, although Olivia may have already informed them. Tell the parents that the administration is aware of the situation and if further action is required they will be informed.
  2. Draft a letter and email that explains the situation to the parents of the other students in the class. The content of the letter can detail the incident and what was done to rectify the situation.
  3. The letter can also provide students with the steps to change the privacy settings on the site.

Response to Authorities, including YouTube:

YouTube has a very clear set of Community Guidelines located at http://www.youtube.com/t/community_guidelines
This comment is in violation of those guidelines.
  1. Initiate higher level safety students' videos. See further instructions below for options and details regarding how to do this.
  2. Block the user from making any further comments or from trying to contact the person who uploaded the video. Follow this link for instructions on how to block a user.
  3. Flag the user's videos. This is something the teacher should do in this situation, not ask the student to revisit the offender's videos. The "flag" button is located directly under every video, just to the right of the "Share" button. YouTube has reviewers on duty 24/7 and tries to respond as quickly as possible, often removing offending videos in a matter of a couple hours.
  4. Report the user using YouTube's Help and Safety Tool If YouTube finds your report to be founded, the user's account will be removed from YouTube and further comments blocked. This will not, however, prevent the user from opening another account under a different name, so make sure to implement safety protocols as stated in item 1.
  5. If the comments seem to put the student in danger, law enforcement should be contacted.

YouTube Safety Resources:

The following links provide helpful tips on how to keep students safe on You Tube and can be provided in the letter sent home to parents:
Educator Resources for YouTube
How to implement Safety Mode on YouTube
How to Moderate Comments on YouTube
Teen Safety on YouTube

How can I filter out inappropriate content?

According to YouTube's website, "You can enable YouTube's Safety Mode if you don't want to see videos that contain potentially objectionable material on YouTube. Safety Mode also hides comments on videos (you will see the option to show hidden comments on each video), and replaces most inappropriate language in comments with stars."

To filter out videos that may not be suitable for minors, simply follow the steps below:
  1. Go to any YouTube page and scroll to the bottom of the page.
  2. Find Safety Mode and click On or Offto change your settings.
  3. Select On to enable Safety Mode on your account. Make sure to click the Savebutton.
  4. You also have the option to lock Safety Mode on your browser. This option prevents others from changing the Safety Mode setting on this browser. Once Safety Mode is locked, it will remain on even after you sign out. To use this option, click the Save and lock Safety Mode on this browser button.

Be Prepared

Many schools don't allow access to YouTube at all. In this case, they do, but we don't know if it is a long standing practice or a recent change. Be prepared that after an incident such as this, there may be demands from parents, administration or tech staff to prohibit YouTube access. In order to keep this successful assignment, you may need to be prepared to present counter arguments regarding why and under what conditions YouTube should remain accessible. You may also need to come up with alternative sites or processes the students can use to share their videos, such as TeacherTube or Vimeo. These sites are not completely abuse-proof, but tend to have a smaller pool of users and are more likely to be accessed for professional and educational purposes instead of social.