SONOMA (KPIX 5) — Last week, in a 2nd grade classroom at Sonoma’s Prestwood Elementary, a student conducted a YouTube search for the word “kissing” and a euphemism for the female anatomy and found inappropriate material. YouTube’s algorithm offered even more inappropriate links from there.

“They weren’t typing in things that were incredibly inappropriate, they were just able to keep clicking through and seeing more and more inappropriate stuff,” said Bruce Abbott, assistant superintendent of business at Sonoma Valley Unified School District.

During spring break, district technicians are going classroom-by-classroom to check the internet history of each of the 700 iPads in kindergarten through 2nd grade classrooms. The district is also removing YouTube and Apple’s Safari browser from from all of the iPads, as well as blocking both sites and Twitter from the Google Chromebooks that 3rd through 5th graders use.

The district had filters in place, but it is also adding monitoring software to all teachers’ computers so they can watch what the students are browsing remotely.

“Kids are going to wander, kids are going to type in and see what happens–kids experiment. So we want to make sure we have the ways when we do that — we’ll stop them,” Abbott said.

Parents say tech companies also need to step up to protect children.

“I think there’s a big responsibility for the companies to be improving those algorithms,” said parent Ryan Rindels.

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