Cloud-based web filtering systems are used in schools to protect students from inappropriate and harmful content on the internet. These systems block websites that are not suitable for children or contain explicit material. They also prevent children from accessing social media, chat rooms, and other sites with inappropriate content.
A cloud-based web filtering system is a software that is installed on a server in the cloud. It filters the internet traffic to and from the school’s network. The system works by first checking to see if a website is appropriate for children before it allows them to access it. If it determines that a site is not appropriate, then it blocks access to it by displaying an error message or warning page to the student.
Further, if the number of users increases, it may be necessary to upgrade appliances resulting in even more expenditure. Hardware-based appliances also need to be maintained. Over time, firmware upgrades are likely to be required and IT staff must be on-site to perform those tasks.
Cloud-based web filters on the other hand require no hardware purchases, as the solution is hosted in the cloud. That also means there is no need to install any software.
To start controlling accessible website content all that is required is for the school’s DNS to be pointed to the solution provider. This process typically takes a couple of minutes.
Without any hardware or software installations, there is no need for IT staff to be on site. If any upgrades are required, they are performed by the solution provider.
cloud-based web filtering for schools, therefore, has a low management overhead and there is less wastage compared to appliance-based solutions. Cloud-based web filtering for schools is paid for by purchasing licenses based on the number of users.
Should Schools Have Web Filters?
Internet content control is a requirement of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). If a technical solution is not put in place to prevent obscene images from being accessed, schools will not be eligible to apply for E-Rate discounts. It is also a mandatory requirement for public-funded schools in many states.
Cloud-based web filtering for schools is also important cybersecurity protection. Blacklists of phishing websites and sites are known to host malware can easily be uploaded.
Any time a user attempts to respond to a phishing email or visit a malicious website, the request will be blocked. Some web filtering solutions also inspect encrypted web traffic offering an additional level of protection against web-based cyber-threats.
- Cloud-based web filters are much simpler to install and configure than software or hardware-based solutions.
- Our versatile and easy-to-use cloud-based web filters support all types of network and operating systems.
- Protect your students from exposure to inappropriate content in compliance with CIPA and state legislation.
- Defend your network against web-borne threats such as malware and ransomware, while mitigating the threat of phishing.
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What Are Web Filters?
A Web filter, which is commonly referred to as “content control software”, is a piece of software designed to restrict what websites a user can visit on his or her computer. Filters are often installed either as a browser extension, as a standalone program on the computer, or as part of an overall security solution.
These filters can work using either a whitelist or a blacklist: The former allows access only to sites specifically chosen by whoever set up the filter, and the latter restricts access to undesirable sites as determined by the standards installed in the filter.
These programs look at the URL of the desired site and search through the site’s content for restricted keywords, and then decide whether to block or allow the connection.
Filters are often installed either as a browser extension, as a standalone program on the computer, or as part of an overall security solution. However, they can also be installed on the network side, either by an ISP or a business, to restrict the Web access of multiple users at once. Some search engines also feature rudimentary filters to remove undesirable pages from search results.
Web-filtering software has two main customer bases: Parents who wish to prevent their children from accessing content they consider undesirable or how to check cloud-based web filtering for schools, inappropriate, and businesses that want to prevent employees from accessing websites that don’t pertain to their jobs.
Web filters are also commonly used as prevention tools for malware, as the filters will block access to sites that commonly host malware, such as those related to pornography or gambling. The most advanced filters can even block information that’s sent out over the Internet, to ensure that sensitive data isn’t released.
There are ways around web-filtering software, such as using a Web-based proxy, using foreign-language websites or creating a VPN to a personal proxy server. Because of these loopholes, network admins or concerned parents have to ensure that their chosen filter can do more than just block or allow certain websites.
Web filtering is a technology that stops users from viewing certain URLs or websites by preventing their browsers from loading pages from these sites.
Web filters are made in different ways and deliver various solutions for individual, family, institutional, or enterprise use.
In general, Web filters work in two distinct ways. They can block content as determined by the quality of the site, by consulting known lists which document and categorize popular pages across all genres of content.
Or, they can evaluate the content of the page live and block it accordingly. Many Web filter tools work off of a constantly updated URL database that shows which websites and domains are associated with hosting malware, phishing, viruses or other tools for harmful activities.
On the surface, web filtering is pretty simple, but like all things, as you start to learn more, everything becomes more complex.
With close to a billion active websites on the internet, there’s is no way that every website can be included on a web filtering program’s exclusion lists.
Web Filtering Customer Base
The three largest groups that use web filtering are:
- Parents – who wish to prevent their children from accessing content they consider undesirable or inappropriate.
- Businesses – that want to prevent employees from accessing websites that don’t pertain to their jobs. Also, web filters serve as effective assistance in stopping some malware infections.
- Schools – Schools tend to use web filtering in a similar manner to businesses and parents, hoping to block offensive and distracting content, while also hoping to protect against malware infection.
Web Filtering Types
- Blocklist & Allow List Filters – When using blocklists, an administrator (which might be a parent) manually enters all websites that are deemed inappropriate into the program, and those sites are subsequently blocked. Allow lists are used in exactly the same way, only in reverse – i.e. URLs are manually entered onto a allow list, and all other websites are then off-limits.
- Keyword And Content Filters – This type of filtering is in many ways similar to block and allow list filtering, though with a slightly broader scope. Keyword and content filters will filter out websites that contain specific keywords or predefined content (such as pornography, for example).
As well as the two main filters listed, customization options also exist:
- Client-side Filtering
- Server-side Filtering
- Enterprise Filtering
- Personal Filtering
- Malware Control
For anyone concerned with using the internet safely, checking cloud-based web filtering for schools can be an excellent tool to help prevent attacks or loss of security.
Monitoring and filtering what employees share help actively enforce IT policies as well as prevent data leakage.
The security of a business is essential, so when any level of confidential information leaks, it will cause harm to the company. For organizations that offer internet access available to the public, like schools or libraries, recent legislation, CIPA (Child Internet Protection Act) has made it mandatory to implement a filtering solution or lose funding.
Web filters are capable of preventing users from accessing sites that execute malicious code on the user’s computer. Even on a small level, web filtering allows companies to block websites that don’t support an effective workday, as well as not fitting the requirements of their security policies.
Why Do Schools Block Spotify?
Websites are commonly blocked because their material can be found too violent, sexual, and distracting for students. I believe that Spotify is being blocked because it presumably distracts students’ learning.
What is Spotify?
Spotify is a digital music service that allows its audience to access millions of songs. It is one of the most used music services in the world, reaching over 100 million users as of 2016, according to the Telegraph.
With its remarkable success as a website, the music service reached out to the mobile market where it released the “Spotify” app in 2008.
Spotify delivers to a wide audience with its various genres of music. On play.spotify.com, people can freely play whatever music they want, whenever they want to. This idea leads to its famous slogan of “play any song, anytime.”
Users can download songs, make playlists, and subscribe to famous artists for the newest trends. For these reasons, 47% of the users are 13-24 years old
Spotify is a digital music service and nothing more. Even when a student is listening to music, he or she can not access any material other than the music itself. Therefore, Spotify ensures that students will not be distracted by visual stimulants and will focus on the material given in class.
Spotify Gives Free Music Service
This means that the district does not need to pay anything for students to gain access. Because of its complementary services, students will be able to listen to high-quality music without having to pay anything, making Spotify a very viable source of music. At the end of the day, Spotify is loved by students and for that reason, should not be blocked.
Why Should YouTube Be Blocked in Schools?
The reason schools block YouTube on the internet, is because it’s so the students can focus when in computer classes and use computers in school to learn.
It’s most likely that the students would NOT be using YouTube for educational purposes so they put a safety mode on it for school-appropriate searches.
Society now is more immature than it was before, and some of the stuff students look up on YouTube and other inappropriate websites, isn’t very smart.
If we ever did unblock YouTube for students, who knows what kind of problems and chaos it would bring. Much more suspensions, many more inappropriate searches, etc. They have YouTube for educational purposes only.
It shows no inappropriate pictures, profanity, or violence at all whatsoever. I feel as if we were to unblock YouTube, the students are going to take advantage of the privileges that were given to them, and it’s not okay.
Our generation is not the generation to start “loosening the reigns” when it comes to stuff like this. The way our generation is, maybe a stereotype, or it’s just reality, but I feel like we as students need to prove we are responsible, and mature enough to have a website like YouTube unblocked.
When most people think of YouTube, they think of un-educational, little short videos that give out a wide range of entertainment. Most of the schools around the world have decided to block YouTube for the sake of the learning of the students, as most of them would use it to look up inappropriate content (although YouTube blocks all pornographic videos), which is very easy and understandable reason. But, when used right, YouTube can be a very good friend.
Let’s say you’re trying to figure out how to do something. Maybe you would like to know how Moon affects the tides on Earth. All you must do is go onto YouTube and put in “how the moon affects the tides on earth”.
Multiple videos will come up, and all you must simply do is watch, listen, and maybe scribble down a few notes to get the basic concept and review them for the upcoming test. Of course, you may think “Why not just ask my science teacher? He can help me.”
This is very true, but many people (like me) are visual learners, so it is very difficult to understand how the tides on Earth shift and change when the moon is high in the sky, and also with the effect of the sun’s gravity, the tides are changed even more. With a video and/or a picture or two, it would be able to help many students understand this concept, or, perhaps a teacher could look this video up and present it to his students.
YouTube does indeed have a “safety search” so that students can only look up educational videos, which is indeed a big help. But sometimes, teachers will need to show videos to their students; things that may have to do with bullying, or harassment, or even simple things that schools are trying to promote such as integrity, honesty, respect, etc. When things like these are looked up, the safety filter blocks them.
Many people understand the fact that some students are very immature and use YouTube as an advantage to entertainment which can, ultimately, become a distraction to their learning, which is what schools are not trying to promote.
The best solution is for people to have a system where they can check the history of the student’s online searches. Those students who were not using the internet irresponsibly have privileges on the internet taken away.
But how do we know the students are going to be using YouTube for an educational purpose only? The YouTube that is already unblocked, is educational only.
Looking up stuff about the Earth, and moon can be used on the EDU YouTube that is unblocked. I feel like students are only wanting YouTube unblocked so that they can go around telling all of their friends a bunch of stuff they found on the website, then showing them inappropriate videos. The teachers don’t have YouTube blocked.
They can look up anything they need to, and we trust them not to use it inappropriately. The students in the school systems, need to prove that they’re mature enough for the school board to unblock YouTube and other sites.
Trusting the students to do what is right is what makes a school better. By doing so, we give more freedom to our students, just as stated in our school’s motto, Responsibility.
Plus, the teachers can have the ability to check our browsing history, so that if some students do what they shouldn’t be doing, we can know and alert the staff/teachers. If students do this, we can take away their computer privileges.
We don’t know how the students will be using this time, so it’s good to have a plan set in case they do. YouTubing is also an amazing privilege for free time.
The students, if trusted enough and given permission by a teacher or staff member, then they can have this ability. Once again, we will have to check their browsing history to make sure they are doing what they shouldn’t be.
We already have the ability to check cloud-based web filtering for schools and browsing history, but as high schoolers, we shouldn’t have to check the history, we should be able to trust these students when it comes to their internet privileges. The students need to earn trust for their free time and other uses of YouTube.
Why is Coolmath Blocked?
The concern about Cool Math Games being shut on February 16, 2020, is caused by the fact that Adobe is discontinuing its support for Flash in that year. Rather than waiting to be shut down, Cool Math Games has instead started making the transition from Flash to newer formats such as HTML
Cool Math Games, a popular site elementary school students access for entertaining and educational experiences, is shutting down according to rumors that have spread across the internet.
Cool Math Games is a site used by millions of people around the world, meaning it’s only natural that the rumors about the domain being shut down have caused such a flurry of panic. But, despite the numerous petitions and the Reddit threads, Cool Math Games is not in any danger of being shut down by Microsoft. The concern about Cool Math Games being shut on February 16, 2020, is caused by the fact that Adobe is discontinuing their support for Flash in that year.
Rather than waiting to be shut down, Cool Math Games has instead started making the transition from Flash to newer formats such as HTML5.
Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Safari have already begun blocking Flash, but all support will officially end in 2020. However, Cool Math Games is not in any danger of being shut down, and elementary school kids will still be able to enjoy its plethora of services.
What Is The Best Internet Filter?
The best internet filter software is designed to keep you and your family safe while you’re browsing online. They can block access to websites that contain inappropriate content for your kids, they can restrict access to certain kinds of sites, and can provide you with reports on internet use across multiple devices.
It’s a great way to not only prevent your family from accessing sites they shouldn’t be looking at, but also to make sure they’re not spending too much time on sites that can be harmful to their mental health and self-image, like Facebook and Twitter.
While it may seem a little controlling, using one of the best internet filter software packages can actually be of great benefit – especially when it comes to your children’s social and mental development.
Excessive and unrestricted use of social media sites is scientifically linked to compromised well-being, which means you need to be aware of how much time your kids are spending on them, and what they’re looking at.
Internet filter software can message you when certain ‘watch-words’ are used on their cellphone, so you can keep them away from individuals grooming them with harmful content like 5G conspiracies and anti-vaccine misinformation.
Net Nanny, which we consider to be the best parental control app, has been excellent web filtering technology and a modern, intuitive design.
Among all the parental control apps that can be used to monitor your children, it comes closest to having feature parity between its iOS and Android versions. Its iOS abilities don’t seem to have been affected by recent Apple policy changes
Net Nanny can track your child’s phone location, display their location history, and set time allowances and schedule equally well on both platforms.
The iOS version lets you block several dozen apps on your kid‘s phone, while the android one lets you block them all.
Net Nanny recently added content screening that works within social media apps and services, including Instagram, Tiktok, and youtube, instead of blocking or allowing them entirely.
The only thing Net Nanny can’t do on a smartphone is monitor calls or text messages. No apps we tested and do that in iOS but several do on Android.
Norton family power and features are ideal for Android households with many children, offering nearly every feature a parent could want from one of the best parental control apps.
Its service is:
- Time scheduling
- Web filtering etc.
And monitoring capabilities work on both iOS and Android, but Norton‘s time allowances are only for this Windows and Android software.
App management and text message monitoring don’t work in iOS at all. There’s no geofencing on their mobile platform.
Norton Family comes free if you spring for one of Norton’s More expensive antivirus suites such as Norton 369 Deluxe, which is often discounted to as little as $50 per year.
At that price, getting Norton Family along with Norton’s excellent protection is a no-brainer, unless your kid uses Macs or Windows PCs.
Kaspersky Sade kid’s lets you monitor your kid’s activities on PCs and Macs as well as On smartphones.
Even better, Kaspersky‘s paid tier is only $15 per year, and its free plan lets you set time limits, filter websites, and manage other apps.
Kaspersky‘s location tracking and geofencing work in both iOS and Android, as do its web monitoring, to check cloud-based web filtering for schools and device scheduling. But app management is limited in iOS, and the iOS app can’t monitor calls or text at all.
Likewise, a new feature that lets you block specific kinds of YouTube searches, and review YouTube search history if you’re a paid user, works on Windows, iOS, and android, including the YouTube android app but not on Macs.
Still, if you don’t feel a need to read your kid’s text messages, then Kaspersky lab filed an antitrust complaint against Apple for allegedly forcing the removal of features from Kaspersky Safe kid’s, part of a crackdown on best parental control app.
Apple in June 2019 relaxed some of those restrictions, but the Kaspersky case continued. So in August 2920, the Russian antitrust authorities ordered Apple to reverse its changes. We’ll have to wait and see what Apple does.
Qustodio has software for:
- Android devices
- Amazon Fire tablets.
And lets you set time limits for individual apps and individual devices. This services limited location tracking works on both iOS and Android, And qustodio finally added a geofencing option in the fall of 2019.
A family locator feature that shows you where all your kids are at once was added in September 2019.
You can manage only a few dozen of apps on iOS, as opposed to all android apps. Web filtering is more powerful on iOS, while monitoring texts and calls works on Android.
The one big drawback is that Qustodio can get darn expensive, costing up to $138 per year for 15 devices.
In early 2019, Qustodio experimented with offering a much cheaper three-device plan for $40 per year, but that did not last.
Once the most powerful parental control app for iPhones, Ourpact was hobbled by an Apple rule change in late 2018 that nixed the services geofencing location tracking and time allowance on iOS.
In early 2019, Apple quietly expelled Ourpact from the App Store, but in July of that year, after Apple eased up on it’s restrictions, Ourpact was reinstated.
At its peak, Ourpact was the only best web filter app that we tested that could manage or block any iOS app. It can still do so for Android devices.
Our pact also gets kids involved in managing the daily allowances of screen time that you give them, and it does a good job of scheduling.
Yet, its website filtering simply blocks porn, and it can’t monitor calls or texts at all, even on Android. However, you can block messaging apps, and Ourpact remains a joy to use.
The screen time feature in iOS does an excellent job of managing and scheduling kids’ devices access. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do a whole lot else, at least on iOS devices.
App management and web filtering are for Android only.
Screen time also has baffling upcharges for location tracking and web filters, both of which are arguably essentials and come standard with other best web filters apps.
You can get both features in the 14-days screen time premium trial. We did like how screen time lets you file out additional, you, screen time to kids who perform chores or good deeds.
But you can’t block apps on iOS, and there’s no call or text monitoring at all, although geofencing And location history were recently added for android phones only.
ESET Parental Control for Android sticks to a single platform, but it doesn’t shine even there, lacking text message and call monitoring features and implementing clunky controls on what it does have.
The app management and time management you receive with the free version of ESET Parental Control for android to work well, as do the location tracking and geofencing you’ll get if you pay for a subscription.
There’s a 30days free trial, and we like the feature that lets a kid send an SOS message to designated phones with a single tap.
Still, the $30 yearly plan is not worth shelling out for unless you get it bundled with ESET smart security premium.
That’s because Kaspersky safe kid does more than ESET Parental Control for Android in four times as many platforms and at half the price.
Parental control features you might want in android phones, but its abilities are somewhat limited in iOS and the user interface are outdated and frustrating on both platforms.
The iOS and Android smartphone apps offer location tracking and excellent web filtering, and MMGuardian now has an artificial intelligence component to spot nudity in saved images.
On an android phone, the parent can use MMGuardian to read every text and block any number. Unfortunately, time management and screen time schedules are android only
On an Android phone, the parent can use MMGuardian to read every text and block any number. Unfortunately, time management and screen-time scheduling are Android-only, and the separate MMGuardian app for Android tablets has no location tracking.
On iOS, MMGuardian’s app management is primitive, and there is no call and SMS blocking. However, it recently added SMS and instant-message monitoring via a desktop app connected via