In 2000, Congress passed the Children´s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) – an Act making it necessary to implement “technology protection measures” for content filtering school Internet if schools wanted to continue being eligible for E-Rate discounts. After surviving a legal challenge from the American Library Association, the Act was found constitutional by the United States Supreme Court in 2003.
Subsequent to the passage of CIPA, twenty-four states also passed laws with the objective of preventing children accessing obscene visual depictions, child pornography and other images that are harmful to minors. These laws apply to publicly-funded schools and libraries, who must adopt appropriate acceptable use policies and/or mechanisms for content filtering school Internet.
Content Filtering School Internet Has Moved On Since 2003
Not all schools and libraries chose to comply with CIPA – one of the reasons being that CIPA did not provide the funds to purchase the technology protection measures required for content filtering school Internet. In many cases, the cost of purchasing and maintaining the hardware-based Internet filters that were available at the time was more than the E-Rate discounts they received.
Furthermore, the Internet filters available in 2003 were inflexible and difficult to configure. Students were often denied access to important educational material and online support groups by rigid filtering parameters, and although content filtering school Internet achieved its objective of preventing children accessing harmful material, it also created a two-tier educational system in which children who had access to unfiltered home computers had an advantage over children who did not.
Since 2003, mechanisms for school Internet content filtering have evolved. Now cloud-based, with no hardware to install and software to update, modern school Internet content filtering services are subscription-based. They are much easier to configure and have granular controls that (for example) will allow children in one grade to access one level of online material while allowing children in a higher grade access to more age-appropriate online material.
How School Internet Content Filtering Services Work
School Internet content filtering services work by the school or school district redirecting their server´s DNS settings to the service provider´s servers. By doing this, network managers gain access to the service provider´s web-based platform, which can be logged into from any Internet-connected device in order to manage the filtering parameters.
Most cloud-based mechanisms for content filtering school Internet are compatible with every type of operating system and have an auto-configuration feature so that schools can start filtering Internet content immediately. Permission access levels and general filtering parameters can be set with the click of a mouse through the web-based platform and fine-tuned with keyword filters and whitelist features.
The service provider´s platform should also allow network managers to monitor network Internet activity in real time and have a comprehensive range of reporting options to identify which requests to visit websites have been blocked and who has attempted to circumnavigate the filtering parameters. The platform should also facilitate the use of cloud keys to override the parameters when appropriate.
Protecting students by blocking access to age-inappropriate web content is straightforward when students are in the classroom, but it is also possible to block access via the WiFi network and beyond the school gates. Filtering controls can be applied no matter where a device is used to access the Internet, which means students learning remotely – due to the pandemic for example – will remain protected.
How Filtering Services Protect School Networks against Malware
School Internet content filtering services also help protect school networks against malware, ransomware and phishing attacks. They do this through a series of filtering mechanisms that check requests to visit website against blacklists of domains known to harbor malware, domains that hide their true identity behind a proxy server, and IP addresses from which phishing attacks have been launched.
Filtering services primarily protect the school network from infection, but can also protect network users from fraud and identity theft. In a scenario in which a school provides a WiFi network, content filtering school Internet can protect the mobile devices that connect to the Internet from malware. The malware prevention filtering mechanisms are automatically updated by service providers as new threats are identified to ensure school networks are protected at all times. Network managers can also blacklist specific sites manually via the service provider´s platform or download additional child safety blacklists from multiple online sources.
Try School Internet Content Filtering for Free
If you are a compliance, safety or network manager, and you would like to protect network users from harmful online material and malware, you are invited to try the WebTitan school Internet content filtering service free of charge for 14 days. Our offer enables you to see how easy content filtering school Internet is with a cloud-based service, and allows plenty of time to find the most suitable filter settings for your school´s requirements.
To find out more about this opportunity, do not hesitate to contact us. Our team of Sales Technicians will be happy to answer any questions you have about content filtering school Internet and guide you through the registration process for your free trial of our school Internet content filtering service. The whole process only takes fifteen minutes from start to finish, so contact us today and start the simple process of content filtering school Internet with WebTitan. If you are also looking for the best spam filter for use in schools, be sure to ask about SpamTitan.