Note: Smart Play is currently a beta release. This feature is fully functional and fully tested and is in use by schools around the world and can be used safely in the classroom. We will keep it in beta for an extended period of field use in order to fine-tune database categorizations with real-world usage.
Lightspeed Systems Smart Play is the best way to manage videos for your users. We’ve taken our machine learning AI database engine and turned it loose on YouTube to accurately categorize videos. You can easily and safely allow educational videos in just a click. You can also allow and block videos based on the same category decisions you make for other content. Then, whether they’re on YouTube.com or another site with those videos embedded, educational videos will be accessible.
Smart Play helps you:
- Save time – no need to create and maintain manual lists
- Improve learning – no blocking educational videos; no frustrating users as they try to teach and learn
- Maintain safety and acceptable use – you don’t need to open all of YouTube to get the good stuff
- Keep control – easily add custom blocked/allowed channels or videos and differentiate access by users and groups
Do you want to learn more about the differences between Smart Play and YouTube Restricted Mode
Using Smart Play
Enabling Smart Play
You can enable the Smart Play feature by navigating to Web Filter > General > Video Filtering and checking the box next to Lightspeed Systems Smart Play. You can also check the next option to share video data with us, which will greatly help us in improving our categorization (by checking this option you are not sharing any personal identifying information, instead, only information on videos accessed, allowed, and blocked locally is shared. We will use this information to keep our database smart and always learning.)
In order for Smart Play to function, the option to Decrypt SSL Traffic must be enabled under Web Filter > Proxy Server > Forward Proxy.
Note: The devices must be going through the proxy and you must be decrypting SSL traffic.
Note: Customers that are using a PAC file (Selective proxy) will need to add the following domains to their PAC file for Smart Play to work:
Enabling access to YouTube.com
With SmartPlay, students can safely browse YouTube.com. To allow that, move YouTube.com and m.YouTube.com to an allowed category (do not check the boxes to include subdomains and URLs). (By default, they’re in Adult.) Then, students can visit the site, browse and search, and only have access to appropriate videos. You can recategorize these sites to any allowed category (such as education.videos)
Note: You do not need to recategorize youtube.com and m.youtube.com if you do not want your users to have access to YouTube (this way, users will only have access to videos directly sent to them by teachers.)
Note: Smart Play (with user YouTube access) will not work unless youtube.com and m.youtube.com are recategorized into an allowed category.
Note: YouTube image repository URLs (such as ytimg and yt3.ggpht) should not be categorized and should not be added to SSL Exclusion lists. Recategorizing these or adding them to SSL Exclusions will allow your users to see adult thumbnails.
Note: Smart Play does not work with the YouTube App.
If you are a customer using a Lightspeed Cloud Configuration where database reclassification is not an option, you can allow the required access to YouTube by setting the YouTube (For Smart Play) category to be allowed in your Web Filter Policies. The Smart Play settings described will still need to be applied for proper access.
Allowing and blocking categories within Smart Play
Once Smart Play is enabled, you can manually determine which of our Database Categories you want to allow and which you want to blocks specifically within YouTube. Smart Play categorizes all videos into these various categories.
You will have to make these determinations individually for each Rule Set. Navigate to Web Filter > Policies: Policy Assignments > Rule Sets and select the Rule Set you want to modify. In our example, we will be working with our Students Rule Set.
Within the Rule Set, you will have several Smart Play specific options. First of all, you will need to determine whether you want to enable unknown YouTube videos. These are videos that are not classified under a specific category. Due to the potentially inappropriate nature of these videos, we advise you to maintain this option disabled.
You can locate the Unknown YouTube option under the Unknown URLs, Domains and IP Addresses section of the Rule Set. You can toggle the option to be allowed () or blocked () by clicking the toggle switch.
Next, you will be able to determine which categories you want to allow or block specifically within the YouTube Smart Play environment. You can allow or block any category under the Local Categories, as well as the education.videos, adult, and news Normally Allowed and Blocked Categories.
Blocking or allowing a category is easy. Simply check the box under the Smart Play column to allow a category or uncheck the box to block it. Any category with a check box will be allowed, irrelevant of whether the category is allowed or blocked within the general Web Filter interface.
In the example below, the Smart Play box is checked for the adult category. As a result, all YouTube videos that are categorized as adult will be ALLOWED when Smart Play is enabled.
On the other hand, if the Smart Play box for the category is unchecked, all YouTube videos that are categorized as adult will be BLOCKED when Smart Play is enabled.
Important: Even though both categories are toggled as blocked within the general Web Filter interface, this has no effect on Smart Play. You will have to check the boxes to allow or block categories within the Smart Play interface independently.
Note: When Smart Play is first enabled, Web Filter will automatically check the boxes under Smart Play to allow all categories that you currently have toggled as allowed within the general Web Filter interface. You will need to verify that you indeed want these same categories allowed within Smart Play and then check or uncheck them based on your determination.
Recategorizing YouTube videos and channels
Did you find a video that you believe is incorrectly categorized or that you want to recategorize for your own purposes? You can always report the video for recategorization to Lightspeed, but there is also a simple local solution. The Web Filter gives you the ability to recategorize individual YouTube videos and channels individually. You can recategorize these channels into individual Local Categories, which you can then enable or disable through Smart Play.
In order to recategorize a video or channel, you need to navigate to Web Filter > Database: Categorized Sites.
Within the search bar, search for the URL of either a single YouTube video or an entire channel. Locate the video or channel on YouTube, copy its URL, paste it into the search bar, and click Search.
Once you search for the video or channel, the following will display. Click on the video/channel name to recategorize it.
The following box will pop up. Select a new Local Category for the video/channel from the dropdown to the right of the Category menu. You can enter an optional comment in the Comment box. Click Save.
Note: Individual videos will be recategorized immediately, entire channels may take several minutes to recategorize, depending on the amount of videos in the channel.
Note: Once a channel is recategorized, you will not be able to recategorize individual videos within that channel.
Once a channel or video is recategorized, you will see it in your Results under its new category. You can reset the channel/video to its original category by clicking the green RESET button next to the channel name.
The following is a sample student view of YouTube when Smart Play is enabled and YouTube browsing is allowed.
Videos that fall into your Allowed Categories/Lists will display their thumbnails and will play normally when opened by a student (shown highlighted in green in the screenshot above)
Videos that fall into your Blocked Categories/Lists will display a blue “x” (highlighted in red in the screenshot above). If a user clicks on them, a block page will be displayed.
Tip: The Computer category needs to be on for YouTube to work.
Tip: Recategorize youtube.com and m.youtube.com to a locally allowed category to allow safe browsing. (Don't check the boxes to include subdomains and URLs.)
Tip: Do not use youtu.be short URLs for local recategorization. Use the full URL.
Tip: Enable the option to block unknown videos for students. You may want to disable it for teachers/other users.
Tip: You can't locally allow/block topics
If you are going to be decrypting youtube traffic with a PAC file, you should have youtube.com, yt3.ggpht.com, yt3.gght.com, and ytimg.com sent to the proxy.
You can run a custom report on YouTube videos! Navigate to the Activity report and add the following filters:
- Destination Hostname - IS NOT - yt3.gght.com (to filter out thumbnail URLs)
- Destination Path - Is - watch (to filter YouTube videos)