Can web filtering really harm the kids?

Web filtering is undoubtedly an essential when it comes to school cybersecurity. However, when the service is not set up correctly or a number of blocked categories is way too high, it starts to annoy both staff, and kids. Let’s see how to use web filtering to stay safe out there on the internet and make full use out of it.

Starting with the basics, it makes sense to remind ourselves what CIPA is. The Children’s Internet Protection Act, signed into law in 2000, is a document that regulates the exposure of inappropriate content to children. To be precise, the content that shall be filtered or blocked is divided into 3 groups: obscenity, child pornography & content harmful to minors. To receive funding, an educational institution must follow the guidelines of the act. The easiest way to comply with it is to purchase a web filtering solution. Needless to say, K-12 schools must be CIPA compliant to use E-Rate discounts, but those schools and libraries that do not receive the fundings do not have this obligation.

Web filtering solutions work on a DNS level, blocking all unwanted websites: both malicious ones with viruses lurking around, and all kinds of explicit content. In a nutshell, the DNS system matches IP addresses and the names of the websites working as a phonebook of the Internet. DNS filtering, however, also categorizes the website to see if it belongs to any restricted groups. This part is usually customizable: you choose which type of sites you want gone (or vice versa – you create an Allow list, which contains only the resources you want your students, staff & guests to see, and everything else is blocked), and leave it be.…Read More

Australia delays internet filter to review content

Australia’s widely criticized proposal to mandate a national web filter blocking child pornography and other objectionable internet content has been delayed at least a year so the government can review what content should be restricted, reports the Associated Press. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said a 12-month review would begin this year into the filter, which would force all Australian ISPs to block a regularly updated list of web sites. If a mandatory filter is passed into law, it would make Australia one of the strictest internet regulators among the world’s democracies. Some critics have said the proposed filter would put the nation in the same censorship league as China. While child pornography was the main target, the filter also seeks to ban sites that included bestiality, rape, and other extreme violence, as well as detailed instructions in crime, drug use, or terrorist acts. “There are some sections of the community that have expressed legitimate concerns that the [restricted content] category … does not accurately reflect current community standards about what type of content should be refused,” Conroy told reporters in Melbourne…

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