A few weekends ago my wife’s parents were in town visiting for the weekend. During that time, our 3 year old son was eager to show his Nana and grandpa a few of his favorite apps on his iPod Touch. One of those apps was YouTube. He loves to watch videos of some of his favorite Nick Jr. shows. Usually, I use the SEARCH feature of YouTube to try and filter out irrelevant videos.

However, as my father-in-law quickly found out, that doesn’t help in filtering inappropriate content. Take a look at these search results for Blue’s Clues. The top results turn out to be actual episode content, but as you scroll down the list, you really begin to run into some objectionable content. Take a quick look at this clip which has been viewed over a million times. [WARNING! Explicit Song Lyrics]

After grandpa and the 3 year old watched that, you can probably imagine the issue that quickly arose in our house. While I’m not normally a proponent of blocking websites, I have to take issue with YouTube and the type of material that is available for children to access very easily. Gangta Blues Clues and material like it are not appropriate material for my 3 year old to be watching, so my wife and I felt that we needed to remove YouTube from all our iDevices.

With most iDevice apps, you can add or delete easily through the iTunes interface or by pressing and holding the app on the iDevice for about 5 seconds. Once you’ve done this, you can use the X in the upper left hand corner to delete the unwanted app. However, this is not the case with YouTube and other Apple provided built-in apps like Safari and iTunes.

Thankfully, there is a way to hide those native apps from use by your children or student though. To do so, you need to begin by accessing the SETTINGS menu. Next, locate and select the GENERAL menu. If you scroll down the menu a bit, you will find the RESTRICTIONS menu. By default this setting is off, however, by clicking on it, you can set an administrative pass code for the device and then pick and choose the restrictions you’d like to apply to your iDevice by sliding the ON/OFF buttons. In this case, we are going to turn YouTube off. Exit the SETTINGS menu by using the home button on your iDevice and when you return to your apps, you’ll see that YouTube is no longer accessible on the iDevice. No more Gangsta Blues Clues, which is great!

While this option solves our problem of children accessing inappropriate content, it also limits the educational potential of iDevices. I think it would be great if Apple and YouTube could work to develop some type of parental controls for iDevices so that parents and teachers don’t have to block the app entirely. There is valuable content on YouTube, but the bottom line is I can’t take the risk as a parent or teacher of children coming into repeated contact with inappropriate content like Gangsta Blues Clues.

Be sure to check out our Ning (Online Community) devoted to helping teachers utilize iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad to the their fullest. Please leave a comment if you agree, disagree, or have other creative uses for this app in the classroom or at home.