Online safety: Filtering and monitoring

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

Schools are reminded to check that filtering and monitoring are correctly working across all their devices, especially any mobile devices being used.

The UK Safer Internet Centre has published guidance for education settings and filtering providers about appropriate filtering and monitoring.

It includes free pdf downloads for filtering, monitoring, and the charity is also encouraging schools to use free self-review tools such as that will support a school in assessing wider online safety policy and practice.

Schools are encouraged to follow five steps:

  • Audit all the mobile devices in use in school (this can be made easier if the school manage apps through a mobile device management set-up).
  • Understand and detail the apps in use and how these are managed (installed and deleted). Ensure that apps can be centrally and routinely removed from mobile devices.
  • Identify who is responsible for mobile devices as well as filtering and monitoring solutions at the school, ensuring that the designated safeguarding lead is also aware.
  • Test to ensure that the schools filtering and monitoring solution is working across all mobile devices and across installed apps (not just internet browsers). Schools can use the website for this.
  • Identify any vulnerable users of mobile devices, paying particular attention to ensure harmful content is not accessible on specific devices.

The charity also urges schools to clearly communicate their reporting mechanisms with all those who use devices and to ensure that acceptable use policies are “clear, understood and respected by all”.

Headteacher Update’s resident safeguarding writer Elizabeth Rose has also offered her advice for schools in a recent article on online safety and safeguarding, including staff training, using the curriculum, school policies and filtering and monitoring (Rose, 2022).

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