In today’s digital age, the internet plays an integral role in education. It offers students a vast array of resources, enhances communication, and fosters collaboration. However, it also exposes them to potential risks and inappropriate content.
To ensure the safety of students while they explore the online world, educational institutions rely on tools such as Smoothwall Filter and Smoothwall Monitor.
In this article, we will explore how these two technologies are helping to keep children safe online.
The Importance of Online Safety in Education
The internet is a treasure trove of information, but it is also a place where students can encounter harmful or inappropriate content. Whether it’s explicit material, cyberbullying, or access to dangerous websites, ensuring online safety in educational environments is of paramount importance.
Educational institutions have a responsibility to create a secure online environment for their students, one that encourages exploration and learning while protecting them from potential threats.
Who is Smoothwall?
Smoothwall is the leading digital safeguarding solutions provider in UK education. 27,000 schools, colleges and MATs depend on their technologies to keep students safe and their education organisations compliant.
Part of Qoria, Smoothwall provides the most comprehensive suite of digital safety and wellbeing solutions in the world and works practically with schools to help them address their biggest student digital wellbeing concerns.
Engineered from the ground up, their technologies are built around three fundamental health and safety pillars schools are familiar with (Prevention & Enablement – Early Detection & Intervention – Education & Engagement); providing a complete digital safety and well-being infrastructure that protects and supports every child’s digital journey, wherever they are.
What is Smoothwall Monitor?
A multi-award-winning digital monitoring solution, Smoothwall Monitor stands as a trusted ally for more than 2,600 schools, colleges and MATs, safeguarding over 1 million students across the UK.
By seamlessly combining its innovative technology with its in-house, expertly-trained human moderators, Smoothwall Monitor is able to identify false positives and address urgent risks quickly. For example, if a student types into a browser, digital document, or social media platform anything that suggests they may be at risk, Smoothwall Monitor will see it, evaluate it and, if the risk is serious, alert the school’s safeguarding team. This could be by phone call, within minutes, for the most serious risks.
For more information on Smoothwall Monitor here is a link to their website.
What is Smoothwall Filter?
Smoothwall Filter scans the copy, content and context of every page for unwanted material and has 120 filtering categories which can be used to tailor the web browsing experience of all audiences to ensure that harmful content is out of reach.
This allows educational institutions to customise their filtering policies to align with their specific needs and guidelines. This flexibility ensures that each school can tailor their internet security to their unique requirements. Smoothwall filter provides them with the ability to give different groups access to different categories and sites. This is done using “Who, What, Where and When” logic so that the filtering can be customised to different people at different times of the day.
For more information on Smoothwall Filter here is a link to their website.
Benefits of Smoothwall Monitor and Smoothwall Filter for Education
Protection Against Inappropriate Content: Real-time, content filtering capabilities protect students from accessing inappropriate material, reducing the risk of exposure to harmful content. Alerts can be generated, and actions can be taken to address such issues promptly.
Enhanced Productivity: Content filtering ensures students stay focused on their educational tasks, reducing distractions from non-educational websites and social media.
Bullying Prevention: By monitoring social media, instant messaging platforms and offline applications (e.g. Word documents), Smoothwall Monitor helps identify and prevent bullying incidents, promoting a safer environment.
SafeSearch Enforcement: The platform enforces SafeSearch on popular search engines including Google, ensuring that explicit content does not appear in search results, even if students attempt to disable SafeSearch manually.
Compliance with regulations: Educational organisations are required to comply with KCSIE and Ofsted requirements. Smoothwall Monitor and Smoothwall Filter assist schools, colleges and MATs with meeting and exceeding these requirements through powerful, innovative filtering and monitoring technology.
Granular reports and analytics: Smoothwall Monitor and Smoothwall Filter allow schools to automate and generate more meaningful reports that provide a significant, holistic views of the activity of students and groups.
Summary of benefits:
The internet is a powerful tool for education, but it comes with its own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to safeguarding children online. Smoothwall Filter and Smoothwall Monitor technology plays a crucial role in creating a safe and secure online environment in educational institutions.
By filtering content, monitoring online activities, and providing comprehensive reporting, Smoothwall helps schools strike the right balance between open access to educational resources and the protection of students from harmful content and online threats.
In the digital age, ensuring online safety is not just an option, but a necessity. Smoothwall serves as a valuable ally in this endeavour, helping to shape responsible digital citizens while fostering a culture of learning and exploration in a safe online environment.
In 2023, The Department for Education (DfE) produced guidance to support schools to choose the right digital infrastructure and technology. These articles may be useful for additional reading:
DfE guidance: Broadband & Filtering
DfE guidance: Wireless Networks
DfE guidance: Network Switching
DfE guidance: Network Cabling
How can Link ICT Help?
We have successfully advised many schools on their digital strategy and installed a variety of protective measures including Smoothwall Filter & Smoothwall Monitor in order to provide online safety protection. If you would like to learn more, please get in touch.