How to block content on YouTube

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Tech Lockdown Team
Updated March 29, 2024

Network filtering is a useful tool to control the content that you or others can access online. However, not all content is easy to filter, especially when it comes from platforms that offer both educational and harmful videos. One of these platforms is YouTube, the world's largest video media site. YouTube hosts a vast amount of content, ranging from helpful tutorials to distracting or inappropriate videos. Every minute, hundreds of hours of new content are uploaded and categorized on the site.

Some people may want to block YouTube completely , but this may not be the best option for everyone. There are other ways to filter YouTube content without relying on user profiles, which can be easily bypassed. In this article, we will explore some of these methods and help you find the best solution for your needs. 

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How to Force Strict Mode on YouTube

One option for protecting devices is to switch to strict mode on YouTube. Strict mode blocks adult content, profanity, and other explicit content. It also blocks comments on videos. It is not, however, the default browsing mode for YouTube. 

Force Strict Mode for YouTube using the Hosts File

You can force Strict mode on your computer by using the hosts file method . To do this, add these entries to you file:

## Youtube Safe Search ##

Force Strict Mode for YouTube using a DNS Filtering Service

Another, simpler way to force strict mode is to use a DNS filtering service. For example, Tech Lockdown  offers a very simple interface for forcing strict mode on YouTube. You can also apply these settings to your entire home network, regardless of what devices are accessing it.

Any device on your home network will now only be able to use Strict mode.

How to Block YouTube Thumbnails

YouTube thumbnails are compact visuals representing videos on the platform, aiming to grab attention and attract viewers. Often criticized for being misleading or "click-bait," they can lead to wasted time and exposure to inappropriate content. Blocking thumbnails offers a way to reduce time spent on the platform and limit exposure to such content. This is achieved by disrupting communication with the separate thumbnail host through modifications to the hosts file or using DNS filtering. Ultimately, this setup enhances YouTube's focus and safety. Here's a preview:

Block YouTube Thumbnails using the Hosts file

By using the hosts file method , we can add these entries to block YouTube thumbnails on each device:

# YouTube Thumbnails

Block YouTube Thumbnails by using a DNS filter

Using a DNS blocking service, it's pretty easy to add the hostnames to your blocklist:

If you have DNS filtering set up on your home router, all thumbnails will be blocked for all devices on your home network. For more information on how to get set up, click here .

Blocking YouTube completely

If necessary, you can block YouTube completely from being accessible.

Blocking YouTube using the Hosts File

Add the entry below to your hosts file:

# YouTube

Blocking YouTube using a DNS filtering service

Add the YouTube domain name to the blocklist in your filtering dashboard. Here's an example using Tech Lockdown's DNS filter:

This will block YouTube on all devices that have DNS Filtering enabled.

Final Thoughts

YouTube is an amazing platform, one that provides untold thousands of tutorials, news stories, and much more. However, because of the expansive nature of the platform, not all of the content provided is beneficial. By applying the techniques above, you take a couple small steps to prevent unintentional exposure to sensitive content while using the website.

If you are interested in learning more about how to set up protections for your devices and network, then feel free to browse our blog . We also have some guides that go into more detail on more advanced concepts, like setting up content filtering on a home network , iPhone , Android , and much more !

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