According to a study released last Wednesday by George Washington University, American classrooms are woefully underprepared for ambushes by the autoplay feature on YouTube.
The feature, which automatically plays a tangentially related video five seconds after the end of the previous video, has reportedly “surprise attacked” more than 2,000 classrooms with unexpected videos in the past year alone.
Maria Thompson, a high school student in Charleston, South Carolina, shared her experience of being in a stricken classroom.
“It was terrible. We all saw the timer counting down as the teacher switched to a new tab. We all saw it coming from a mile away and there was nothing we could do to stop it.”
Despite the prevalence of these incidents, teachers and administrators rarely made changes to prevent future accidents. “There are a number of common sense policies, like showing teachers how to turn off autoplay, that could help mitigate these disasters,” wrote lead researcher Sarah Nassler.
The report detailed that instead of these common sense solutions, many schools have opted to train teachers to demolish their computers in the event of an autoplay incident or hire armed IT professionals to patrol campuses. Both of these measures were shown to be ineffective.
This inaction has led to frustration from students. “It’s criminal that politicians and school boards are sitting on their hands as classrooms are thrown into chaos every day by unknown videos playing in some hidden Chrome tab,” commented high schooler and student activist Natalie Baker.