Web Filtering in Education

web filtering in education

Of course, the internet hasn’t just made doing business easier than ever before, it has also changed the face of education. Whole libraries can be accessed at the click of a mouse, students can surf the net to tour virtual galleries and see famous works of art, watch instructional videos, chat directly with their teachers and peers, and access source material without having to queue at the library and compete for scarce books. There is a world of online knowledge to explore and young learners can be better informed than any generation in history.

But as we know all too well, the internet isn’t all about academia and the web has a dark side. Pornography, violence and extreme imagery abounds and the nature of the web means it’s all easily accessible to any young person who knows their way around a web browser, which these days mean all of them. On an even more sinister note, the internet is often used by predators to groom young people and as a recruiting tool for extremist organisations who will target impressionable youngsters with slick websites.

And even when the content kids are accessing is relatively innocent, there are still a thousand distractions out there in the form of chat rooms, fashion and gossip sites, and that biggest time waster of all – YouTube. This sort of fun content encourages procrastination.

Schools and educational institutes need to encourage kids to use the internet to learn, while trying to protect them from its more negative aspects and distractions. This is where filters, which control access to websites by content type, can help by restricting access to:

  • social networking sites such as Facebook
  • open and mixed content sites like YouTube
  • translation sites, which offer instant cheats in language classes
  • chat sites
  • internet telephony sites like Skype
  • media sharing sites

The other reasons for filtering content in schools are the same as those in the workspace. If students are watching or downloading videos, they are using up bandwidth and leaving networks at risk of malware and viruses – a risk that is increased when students bring their own devices to plug into school or college systems.

Education Solutions

Empower IT Solutions has 15 years of IT experience in the Australian enterprise market and offer schools from Kindergarten to Year 12 a new paradigm to improving digital literacy. We work closely with school leaders, teachers and IT to develop education technology solutions. We utilise best practices from the corporate world and recommendations from industry peak bodies, suiting any school size and budget.

Further reading

May 2015: Web Filters – the benefits for your organisation