Updated: Jul 9
For schools and many other organisations, internet filtering is a necessary reality in the workplace, within schools it is enforced to some extent by the Department of Education and Skills.
Legislation mandates that schools and institutions take steps to protect minors who might use their computers, network, and other digital infrastructure from accessing inappropriate websites. Such websites might share content that deals in issues of child abuse, racially insensitive subject matter, or sexually explicit material, we all aim to prevent minors from seeing uncensored or blacklisted material.
The Department of Education and Skills (D.E.S) maintain a web filtering system which every device on the schools network is filtered to prevent staff from accidently clicking on a link to a prohibited website. In normal circumstances this works well, it prevents the the school children from witnessing any material that they shouldn't. as the teachers utilise interactive screens which project the content of their screen to the large screen, as the content is filtered it is deemed safe.
However many school teachers use laptops and these laptops are brought home where the they prepare their material and plan the delivery of their curriculum. The problem is that when brought home the laptops are outside the protection of the D.E.S security and are now connected to the teachers home network where they can unintentionally click links or download material and bring it back onto the school network - completely bypassing the D.E.S security systems; which is worrying!
Even more worrying is the fact that many school teachers are now educating children from their home with their devices connected to their home network and sharing their screen with children through Zoom and the likes. Their own network unfortunately does not have web filtering and the devices do have access to uncensored material from anywhere on the internet and the children do not have the same level of protection.
Failing to comply with internet filtering regulations can spell bad news for most schools and the IT services providers working with them. They must look to implement client based internet filtering which brings the web filtering down onto the device, once web filtering is on the device the filtering security will stay with the laptop regardless of where the laptop is located.
Luckily there is a new generation of cloud-based tools available to help. By investing in these tools and setting up effective and responsible filters, we can prevent minors from witnessing inappropriate information while protecting our teachers who may have accidently clinked on the wrong link.