In this blog post, we will see how to stop students from changing background in Google Meet because in this way they waste a lot of time..

Google added a professional feature virtual background to Google Meet in the Oct 2020 update. This feature allow you to replace your messy room background with a beautiful image from Google's hand-picked image library.

Since the launch of this feature, many young students in schools start playing this feature at online classes. This feature distracts them from the lecture. The background effects also come with computing and network resources costs, degrading the device performance and school network.

Virtual background in Google Meet
Virtual background in Google Meet

Even though Google later published a backgrounds admin control, the setting was applied to the meeting organizer, not the participants. That is, whether the students can use the backgrounds is based on the meeting organizer's organizational unit (OU) background admin setting, not the students' OU background admin setting. It's not possible to enable virtual background for teacher-to-teachers meetings and disable background for teacher-to-students meetings.

Disable Changing Background in Google Meet
Google Meet Backgrounds setting is applied to the meeting organizers, not participants

The Safe Doc chrome extension provides a simple way to fix the problem. If your school has yet installed Safe Doc, get a 30 days trial today.

What's changing?

Safe Doc disables the virtual background feature by removing the change background buttons and menu items.

The screenshots well tell the differences. In the Google Meet waiting room, in the camera preview box, Safe Doc removes the change background button along with the change background menu in the 3 dots menu. In the Google Meet session, the change background menu item can be found at the right of bottom toolbar 3 dots menus. Safe Doc remove it as well.

Safe Doc disables changing background in the Google Meet waiting room
Safe Doc disables changing background in the Google Meet waiting room
Safe Doc removes the 'Apply visual effects' menu item from Google Meet
Safe Doc removes the 'Apply visual effects' menu item from Google Meet. The menu item used to be called 'Change background'.

How to Set up Safe Doc?

First of all, please have Safe Doc deployed to your students' Chrome browsers and read over xFanatical Safe Doc Configuration.

Then add and set the policy BlockMeetChangeBackground to true in your Safe Doc extension policy configuration.

"BlockMeetChangeBackground": {
  "Value": true

After you save the policy configuration, your students' Google Meet no longer can replace the background.


  • Safe Doc cannot revert the existing background effects if students have made the changes before the Safe Doc policy is applied.

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