Student internet filtering at school and at home

posted Dec 1, 2018, 1:32 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated May 24, 2019, 4:52 AM ]

Filtering at school

The district's own WiFi and hardwired data network is CIPA compliant and thus blocks known sites associated with mature or violent content and security threats such as malware. It also attempts to block access to social media sites, non-educational YouTube videos, and other distractions from instruction. 

Take-home Chromebooks are configured with the Lightspeed Relay extension to provide similar filtering at all times.

However, it is NOT possible for the district to filter students' personal cell phones or tablets or other non-district devices when they are accessing a cellular data network. Motivated students can sometimes find ways around the various protective technological barriers on their Chromebooks, although they are subject to disciplinary measures if they do so at school.

Filtering away from school

The strictness of the Relay filter for take-home Chromebooks varies by school.

High School
The filter is most stringent on Mondays-Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. during the academic year and from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. during the summer (due to summer school classes).  Outside of those hours, it relaxes to allow more access to blogs, entertainment, instant messaging, music, and social media. YouTube access is relaxed as well, although Restricted Mode and Age Restrictions still apply.

Middle School
Since middle school students can be 11 years old or sometimes younger, stringent filtering is kept in place at all times with no relaxation after hours.

Parents need to realize, however, that mischievous students can sometimes find ways to defeat any filter we erect.

Your supervision is the best filter

If you are concerned about how your child is using any device for internet access, consider restricting their access to the device to public areas of the home in your presence, such as at a dining table, in the shared living area, etc.

Home filtering technology

Parents can try using Parental Controls on their home WiFi routers or appliances to further restrict student access to various websites.  However,  home filtering only works if they are connected to your own home WiFi network. It has no effect if they connect to a cellular data hot spot or an open WiFi network within range.

The hard truth, whether or not the school provides a take-home device, is that parents must invest time in instilling a sense of personal responsibility in their children and encourage safe online behavior since there will always be opportunities to access the open internet using borrowed devices and students can sometimes defeat technological barriers.

Online resources