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Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, Filtering - Just how much? in Technical; Not one of the usual product A Vs product B but a question, just how much filtering do you do ...
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    Filtering - Just how much?

    Not one of the usual product A Vs product B but a question, just how much filtering do you do on the web now? We have cut ours back over the last couple of years and is getting to the point that apart from porn/adult sites there is little actually filtered. I agree with the move, the more access we allow the less likely our students (including boarders) are to use their phones to bypass and for us to not have a clue what they are up to. Monitoring is now more important that block banning, this does lead to some other products (such as wifi) we have not giving the visibility we require but thats an on going discussion.

    I'm interested in just what do other schools filter, do you agree with our view or are you of the mind block everything and to hell with it

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    Depends on the age group. In my last school (secondary) we filtered very little and went with monitoring, as you suggest. We even had Facebook unblocked for students. In my current school (primary) we block a lot more.

    Obviously whenever students are allowed access to their phones that changes the game; as you rightly suggest, they will just bypass on their phones if they want to get to something that is blocked, so there is little sense in heavy filtering.

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    I agree with you, though we havent gone down the route yet but allowing pupils to access social media so it can be monitored makes sense rather than block it and have them on their phones anyway where you can't monitor it.

    The issue with allowing greater access is always going to come down to teachers ability to keep students on task not on facebook or whatever else.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    We filter same as we always have - in order to keep kids who are easily distracted on task.

    So, we filter games sites, adult sites, social media sites, phone stuff, music sites etc...

    However, we don't block youtube (its a pain in the behind to do on our 'all or nothing' filtering system when some lessons need it).

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    We found that the kids who are easily distracted spent as much time trying to get around the filter as they do spending their time now on video/music sites. We are primary/secondary with the primary still being on a slightly more filtered system and will not be allowing social networking due to the age restrictions on the sites but are discussing video/audio sites being opened.

    When we started to relax things there was a big increase in social networking and games but after a few weeks it started to drop down to a more reasonable level again.

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    Secondary School - We operate one level of filtering, County operate another. We have better granularity & can respond more quickly, using Impero we can allow sites like Youtube for some classes & block it for others.

    Staff regard filtering as an aid to classroom management as it helps them keep students on task. We ran without our local filtering for a year & it was open season for time wasters. Staff were very happy when we reintroduced it.

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    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave.81 View Post
    Not one of the usual product A Vs product B but a question, just how much filtering do you do on the web now? We have cut ours back over the last couple of years and is getting to the point that apart from porn/adult sites there is little actually filtered. I agree with the move, the more access we allow the less likely our students (including boarders) are to use their phones to bypass and for us to not have a clue what they are up to. Monitoring is now more important that block banning, this does lead to some other products (such as wifi) we have not giving the visibility we require but thats an on going discussion.

    I'm interested in just what do other schools filter, do you agree with our view or are you of the mind block everything and to hell with it
    I very much agree with your view Dave. Schools have a responsibility now to keep children and young people safe both in school and beyond. Schools have to start teaching safe & respectful use of the internet and this is more difficult without using the internet more fully. Monitoring is absolutely key. Why punish a whole school community because a small group can't stay on task. Show the pupils some trust, they'll probably reward you. Those that don't should be dealt with individually using normal school sanctions. Use it as an opportunity to teach at first, rather than to punish.

    I also agree that filtering must be age appropriate.

    We are currently with our RBC's level of filtering. They take the opposite view to me, filter lots, monitor very little (if at all to be honest). This situation will not be carrying on very long as the current contract comes to an end, and we can make independent choices on filtering/monitoring solutions.

    [Edit] Actually if anyone is of the same opinion as me regarding the filter/monitor balance and currently uses Lightspeed, I would love to hear from you. I need to understand how straightforward it is to regularly monitor users sat behind a lightspeed appliance. Please PM, or tweet me or something... Thanks
    Last edited by IrritableTech; 15th May 2013 at 10:43 AM.

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    zag
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    I have to agree as well, I'm moving towards a less filtered approach.

    We have 100mbit internet these days so bandwidth is not a problem.

    To be honest as long as we are preforming our safegaurding duties then there really is no need to block that much.
    Last edited by zag; 15th May 2013 at 11:10 AM.

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    We see this more open minded and flexible approach to filtering more and more. Yes we need to safeguard, but safeguarding can be monitoring and educating on safe and responsible usage of the Internet, rather than a block page that can stop and halt the learning process.

    It just so happens I am currently visiting municipals in Scandinavia where there is little or no filtering but an ingrained system to educate on responsible use of computers and the Internet. At all levels they have not expressed any concerns or problems with this approach.

    That said the schools also don't have the onus of responsibility Uk schools have on safety but interesting none the less.
    @IrritableTech
    I will let customers answer your question.....but my answer is "very very straightford" and happy to demo that if needed.

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