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NERIC to offer automatic YouTube filtering service

VuSafe, now being tested, allows access to YouTube without questionable material

Todd Birmingham, a teacher at Watervliet City Schools, would like to use YouTube for class lessons and projects, but faces a major road block: Security.

"There's too much of a risk with students accessing inappropriate material, as well as finding creative ways to jump the firewalls that block that type of material," Birmingham says.

Teachers like Birmingham know that YouTube can be a powerful tool for enhancing lessons and helping students retain information. Still, many schools understandably set up their servers to block the site altogether, due to the risk of students accessing inappropriate content.

But thanks to a new filtering mechanism now being tested at the Northeastern Regional Information Center, it will be possible for teachers to access YouTube without fear of exposing students to questionable material.

Automatic video content filtering

"VuSafe," offered by NERIC vendor partner M86 Security, is a product that automatically filters YouTube content to ensure all material available to school districts is appropriate based on each district's Internet Acceptable Use policies. The product also allows teachers to search for and categorize videos by student age range, topic and lesson, then make the video libraries available for students to search and other teachers to access.

VuSafe will be added to the list of features available through NERIC's content filtering service, which is powered by M86 Security. Districts that already subscribe to this service can expect access to VuSafe by the start of next school year.

"This is going to be a great addition to our service and a real benefit to the teachers and students we support," said Jim McQuade, NERIC's managing program coordinator of network services.

For more information about VuSafe and YouTube content filtering, contact Jim McQuade at 862-5363.

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