Relay’s Video Rules section gives you control over your users’ interactions with YouTube. You can block or allow YouTube, set up Smart Play, set YouTube controls, and block or allow specific videos and channels. Navigate to Video Rules by clicking Internet Access > Video Rules in the left-hand navigation menu.
The first step in setting up Video Rules is allowing or blocking YouTube. By default, YouTube is allowed. Selecting the Block YouTube option from the drop-down menu will block all YouTube content except for videos or channels in the Custom Allow List.
Smart Play is Lightspeed Systems’ machine learning AI database engine that provides an education-focused, machine-learning categorization of videos.
- Saves time – You don’t need to create and maintain manual lists of acceptable and unacceptable videos.
- Improves learning – Your users can access educational videos to teach or learn.
- Maintains safety and acceptable use – Your users can access educational content while distracting and mature content is blocked.
To enable Smart Play, click the toggle button to the right of the Smart Play description:
- – indicates Smart Play is on.
- – indicates Smart Play is off.
Smart Play does not filter Uncategorized videos. You can allow uncategorized videos by clicking the toggle button next to Allow Uncategorized Videos. However, as these videos may contain mature content, we recommend that you leave this option disabled for students.
- – indicates uncategorized videos are allowed.
- – indicates uncategorized videos are blocked.
When you enable Smart Play, your users will see the thumbnails of allowed videos and a blocked sign instead of the thumbnail for blocked videos. The following example shows a student’s view of YouTube when Smart Play is enabled:
Users trying to view a blocked video see a block page similar to the following example:
Smart Play Tips
Follow these tips to get the most out of Smart Play:
• Do not add youtube.com to your Custom Allow or Custom Block Lists.
• Use the full URL for specific videos you want to add to the Custom Allow or Custom Block lists. Do not use youtu.be short URLs.
• Disable the option to Allow Uncategorized Videos for students. You may want to enable it for teachers or other users.
• You can't locally allow/block topics
• Add teacher and district YouTube channels to your Custom Allow List. That way, curated content can easily reach students as videos are added to the channel.
• You can see how a video is categorized by searching for it in the top search bar:
Smart Play vs. YouTube Restricted Mode
Smart Play is more functional and user-friendly than YouTube Restricted Mode. The following table show differences between YouTube’s Restricted Mode and the Smart Play function.
|YouTube Restricted Mode
|Cannot be easily customized.
||Can be easily customized with local recategorization.
|Channel and video classification handled by YouTube.
||Channel and video classification handled by Lightspeed’s dedicated team
|Limited individual video/channel classification control
||Full individual video/channel classification control with Custom Allow and Block Lists
|Cannot specifically block uncategorized videos.
||Can specifically block uncategorized videos.
|No reporting functions.
||Ability to run reports that directly show YouTube activity.
Note: Although Smart Play is the superior solution, you can still opt to use YouTube Restricted Mode instead of Smart Play if you believe that it is a better solution for your specific set up. Make sure to turn YouTube Restricted Mode on and Smart Play off if you chose to do so.
The YouTube Options section is divided into the following parts:
- YouTube Controls – Various YouTube options, including Restrict Mode, hiding comments, and hiding the sidebar.
- YouTube Categories – YouTube video categories that you can choose to allow or block.
- Custom Allow List – Videos and channels that are always allowed, even if they are flagged or belong to blocked Categories.
- Custom Block List – Videos and channels that are always blocked, even if they belong to allowed Categories.
The Relay YouTube section also allows you to set several YouTube Controls.
You can turn the options on () or off ( ).
YouTube Controls include:
Note: If you’re using Smart Play, we recommend enabling Hide Featured Videos on Channels, Hide Comments, and Hide Sidebars. If you’re not using Smart Play, we recommend enabling all YouTube Controls.
YouTube classifies channels and videos into categories. You can see all categories by clicking the Show YouTue Categories link under YouTube Controls.
Note: Categories are not available if Smart Play is enabled as Smart Play overrides YouTube’s native categories. We recommend using Smart Play over YouTube Categories as Smart Play intelligently categorizes videos while YouTube categories are set by video uploaders, who do not always categorize videos correctly.
This opens the YouTube categories list:
You can block videos and channels that fall into any individual category by clicking the toggle button next to the category. In the following example, we have blocked all videos and channels in the Music category:
– indicates the category is blocked.
– indicates the category is allowed.
You can use the Custom Allow List to allow videos that are in blocked categories.
Custom Allow and Block Lists
You can use the Custom Allow and Custom Block lists to manually block or allow YouTube videos and channels.
You can sort between videos and channels on your lists by clicking the and buttons (the number in the button identifies how many videos or channels are currently in the list).
Adding Videos and Channels
You can add videos and channels to the Custom Allow or Custom Block lists by clicking in the upper-right corner of the list. This opens the Allow Video or Channel dialog box:
Enter the YouTube video or channel URL you want to allow in the Link field and click Allow. The video is now in the Custom Allow List. The videos and channels are ordered chronologically by last added.
To block a video or channel, follow the same steps but click the in the upper-right corner of the Custom Block List, add the YouTube video or channel URL, and click Block.
In the following example, we are adding the “Sports” YouTube channel to the Custom Block List:
Deleting Videos and Channels
To delete a video or channel from the Custom Allow or Custom Block list, click the to the right of the video or channel you want to delete.
In the following example, we’re deleting the Gaming YouTube channel from the Custom Block List:
Custom Video Lists
The Custom Video Lists page gives you an alternate view of your Custom Allow and Custom Block lists. Here you can also enable Custom Allow and Block list functionality in After School Rules.
To access the Custom Video Lists page, Click View All in the upper-right corner of the Custom Allow or Custom Block list.
From here, you can also enable Custom Video Lists for After School Rules. Enabling Custom Video Lists for After School Rules allows or blocks the videos and channels in your Custom Allow and Custom Block lists when After School Rules are applied.
To enable your Custom Allow and Custom Blocked lists when After School Rules are applied, click the Enable for After School Rules toggle button.
Enabling Allow Overrides gives designated users the ability override video blocks except for videos in the Custom Block List and videos blocked by Smart Play. You can designate override users in the Users section of Relay. Enable the Allow Overrides option by clicking the toggle button.
A hierarchy controls allowing or blocking YouTube categories, channels, and videos:
1) Smart Play overrides any other setting as long as Restricted Mode is turned off (Restricted Mode should always be turned off when using Smart Play.) Smart Play Allowed and Blocked lists override Smart Play categorization.
2) If you are not utilizing Smart Play, then YouTube’s Restricted Mode overrides any other setting. If you have the Enable YouTube’s Restricted Mode option turned on, then every single video categorized as “restricted” by YouTube will be blocked, even if it is within an allowed category or placed in the Allowed Videos & Channels list. Practically all videos that YouTube categorizes as “restricted” are of no educational merit, so you should not encounter a scenario in which you want to allow a restricted video.
3) The Allowed Videos & Channels and Blocked Videos & Channels lists override Categories. A channel or video that appears in one of these lists will always be either allowed or blocked (depending on which list it is in), no matter if the Category it is in is allowed or blocked. Ex: If you have the Films & Animation category allowed, but have a YouTube video within that category in the Blocked Videos & Channels list, then the video will always be blocked. Similarly, if you have the Films & Animation category blocked, but then have an educational film within that category in the Allowed Videos & Channels list, then the video will always be allowed.
4) The Allowed Videos & Channels list always overrides the Blocked Videos & Channels list. You can have an entire channel in the Blocked Videos & Channels list, but if you have a single video from that channel in the Allowed Videos & Channels list, the video will still be allowed.
The following example illustrates how all three non-Smart Play hierarchy settings work together:
Let us suppose you have the Films & Animation Category as allowed and have the Enable YouTube’s Restricted Mode option enabled. Instantly, all videos that are labeled as “restricted” by YouTube within that category are blocked, no matter what. Next, let us suppose that you have an entire Channel, “Shakespeare Films for Adults” (which falls into the Films & Animation category), in your Blocked Videos & Channels list because the majority of the videos in the channel are inappropriate… but, a teacher wants to show a single video of a film form that channel which contains age-appropriate content. You therefore place that single video into the Allowed Videos & Channels list. As a result, the entire “Shakespeare Films for Adults” channel is blocked, but the single video of the appropriate film from the channel is allowed.
Note: Even though the Allowed Videos & Channels and Blocked Videos & Channels lists override Categories, Sealed Categories (categories that you are not able to toggle on/off, such as the “Offensive” category, which contains highly offensive material, and the “Illicit” category, which contains illegal pornographic material) override all lists.