What Is Explicit Content: Meaning & How To Filter It

Not every content is for general consumption and what explicit content is can vary from strong or discriminatory language to sexual acts.

Thankfully, most content providers and platforms now know this and easily indicate warnings or parental advisories in their catalogs. 

A lot comes into play when categorizing music, video, or image as explicit. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know and how to filter such content.

What Does Explicit Content Mean?

What Is-Explicit-Content - LMSHero

Explicit content is information that is not ideal for everyone. They include the presence of strong language, extreme violence, or adult content within a song, picture, or video.

Projects with such characteristics usually come with a warning for parents with kids or require special access.

Types of Explicit Content

1. Strong language

Strong languages are offensive or curse words. They are words not that are not ideal in a normal conversation. 

Examples include f**k, n****r, sh*t, d*ck, t*ts, b***h, c**t, p***y, to name a few. If a song or movie contains any of these words, it will be rated explicitly.

2. References to violence

This includes statements referring to physical violence, mental abuse, or anything that signifies hurting another person intentionally. 

When young minds listen to or watch such content, they may get easily influenced. However, when such a piece is classified as explicit, parents are well informed and can make the right call for their kids.

3. Discriminatory language

Discriminatory and strong language is somewhat similar. The only difference is that discriminatory language is solely directed at races and skin color.

This form of reiteration can be hurtful and must be rightly classified as explicit information.

4. References to Sexual Activity

Once a song or movie contains talks about a sexual act or a display of sex, it should be classified as explicit and have an age recommendation. 

Failure to classify such content may lead to its removal which is not good for business.

How to Categorize Content as Explicit or Include a Parental Advisory

Just as social workers have ruled guiding them, content creators do too. Before adding a project on any streaming platform, you will be asked if your song or video contains explicit content.

You must be honest and tick the right answer in this section to avoid being blacklisted. This is because most platforms have algorithms that scan your content for this information and rightly classify them.

Adding a “Parental Advisory Explicit Content” at one end of the artwork of your music is one way to sensitize the public. For movies, you must include a stern caution at the start of the movie.

What Happens to Explicit Content on Spotify, Apple Music & other DSPs?

On most music platforms, explicit songs come with a small E or a parental advisory. Tracks with explicit expressions are accepted on Spotify, Apple Music, and other music portals because they give room for filtering.

This means you can filter out any part of the track while enjoying your music. Aside from filters, some streaming platforms also feature a ‘child mode’ that automatically removes foul or matured content.

Can You Promote Music with Explicit Lyrics?

Since major music portals like Spotify and Deezer have nothing against explicit content, you can promote your music using fan links.

By sharing this link on social media, you are increasing visibility and promoting it. The only exception is promotion via radio programs.

Radio programs will only promote your track once it has been filtered. Hence, the better practice is to have an explicit and a non-explicit version of your song within reach at all times.

How Does Explicit Content Filter Work?

Filtering a song or video for explicit content involves removing any part of your work deemed inappropriate or too extreme for your audience.

These filters are programmed to recognize common keywords associated with inappropriate information within a track, picture, or movie.

In case you are worried about how they filter pictures, what they do is calculate the amount of skin exposed in a picture. Depending on the result, they rate it as ideal or generally unacceptable.

Explicit Content Filter on Existing Platforms

Search engines and apps also have inbuilt filters. Parents can activate this option if they want to control what their kids see all the time.

Let’s see some of the popular ones and what they offer:

1. Google SafeSearch

This is Google’s primary filter option. When activated, it hides explicit content from all the results associated with your search query.

When deactivated, all relevant results are displayed including explicit information like nudes and horror. 

How to activate Google SafeSearch

  • Open the Google app if you want to turn explicit content off.
  • Click the profile icon at the upper right corner to find “Settings”.
  • Locate the “Turn Explicit result off or on” icon and turn it off.

2. YouTube Restricted mode

YouTube contains a lot of videos from general to explicit. With this mode turned on, you can easily block mature content. 

Please note that with the number of videos uploaded daily on YouTube, it may take a while for the platform’s algorithm to fully examine and flag content as explicit.

Such content may be revised for a non-explicit version or require additional viewing requirements.

How to activate YouTube Restricted mode

  • Open the app
  • Locate your profile icon and tap on it (for PCs) or your profile picture (for android phones).
  • Go to “Settings” and tap it.
  • You will see a section requesting you to turn on or off Restricted Mode. Turn it off if you do not want to see explicit content.

3. Spotify’s explicit content filter

With Spotify, there is always a small E at the left side of your playlist. The “E” stands for explicit and can be blocked using a Spotify explicit content filter.

After being blocked, Spotify will provide you with a filtered version appropriate for everyone, especially kids.

How to activate Spotify’s explicit content filter

On mobile devices:

  • Open the app.
  • Click the “Home” icon.
  • Go to “Settings” by clicking the gear icon in the upper right corner.
  • Scroll down to locate the “Allow Explicit Content” tab and turn it off.

On PCs:

  • Tap the down arrow in the upper right corner and select “Settings.”
  • Under the “Explicit Content,” section, turn off the button next to “Allow playback of explicit-rated content” and you are good to go.

4. Discord Content Filter

Discord is a platform designed for video game lovers and developers to communicate while playing games online. 

While the platform was originally designed for sharing game information and normal conversation, people have begun to share inappropriate content. 

Discord introduced a content filter to help users and parents control their children’s exposure to such information.

How to activate Discord’s content filter

  • Open the application
  • Click on your profile icon and head toward the privacy and safety section
  • You will see a “keep me safe” and two other options. Activate the “keep me safe” option and you are good to go.


Which country does not accept explicit content?

India, Burkina Faso, Nepal, Belarus, and Uzbekistan iTune regions. 

What is non-explicit content?

Content that does not contain explicit information like drugs, sexual references, profanity, and inflammatory lyrics is non-explicit.

Does Spotify have clean filters?

Of course, Spotify has clean filters. 

These filters, once activated, will filter out all the explicit content in a song.


By now, you should be conversant with what explicit content is, how to spot them, and how it can be filtered. Kids take timeouts during study hours to view content not suited for their age.

As a result, it is important you keep any access to explicit content away from them. Perhaps you think kids having access to explicit content it’s no big deal, you should see why parental involvement is important in a child’s education.

I hope you found this article helpful. Thanks for reading.