Web filtering protects students from harmful content, but blocking too much might limit the the learning process

Can web filtering really harm the kids?

Web filtering protects students from harmful content, but blocking too much might limit the learning process

This part depends on the web filtering provider a school, a uni, a library or any educational institution chooses. Flexibility of blocked categories, unlimited Allow and Deny lists, AI and Machine learning used for categorisation – all that characterizes a compliant vendor for the education sector. A trustworthy vendor would not over-filter content, but give their clients plenty of room for customizing their own vision of what shall and shall not be blocked.

An opposite opinion states that in the era of cybercrime and online fraud, cybersecurity, even on kids’ devices, is essential. Add easy access to pornographic and other explicit resources to that, and you have a blank canvas of a child’s phyche to corrupt. Both opinions have their right to exist, both seem fair. The key to teaching kids internet hygiene is to balance between those. CIPA leaves plenty of room for interpretation, so it’s important to not go to extremes and be moderate. And look for a web filtering provider that gives you such an opportunity.

As an alternative to a conclusion, here’s a checklist of features to look for in a web filtering vendor:

-Allow List Only feature (only allow access to the websites the admins approve of);
-AI and Machine Learning used by vendor (to make sure the service is flexible and adaptive);
-Possible to set up on router (to monitor the whole network);
-Possible to set up on devices (to monitor particular devices);
-Database of large size (about 100 million);
-SafeSearch and Restricted mode for YouTube;
-Remote management features (to deploy in minutes and monitor activity);
-All resources merged into categories (to customize filtering policies);
-Statistics and logs to monitor students’ activity);
-Fully CIPA compliant (to avoid wasting time on extra checking).

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