Friday, 29 January 2010

E-Safety the Byron Review
Chapter 3: The Internet: Towards a strategy for keeping children safe

10% of Harmful material slips through the filter Net

School computer systems in the UK are failing to identify 10% of incoming harmful content, research suggests. Data monitored from 30,000 students found content from items such as mobile phones and cameras are not being picked up by filter systems.


The research states that harmful content which is free of keywords can be hard to flag examples of this comes in the form of pictures and videos.

Are we too safe?

Websites such as Youtube are filtered within South West schools. However Youtube can be used as a valuable tool for enhancing the children's learning. Should we put the onus on Teachers to filter the content from sites like this and give them permission to use these sorts of sites.

Filtering in the South Wst

Filtering systems are facilitated through the local grid for learning. In the South West everytime we enter a URL for a website, a request is sent to the SWGfL asking permission before the site appears. The filtering system does a search for key words and unlawful content before deciding wheher or not the website is allowed. If a teacher wants to use a website which is filtered they need to ask permission from the local authority in charge of the filter. Through the walled garden approach websites can then be checked and permission given.

What are walled gardens?

On the Internet, a walled garden refers to a browsing environment that controls the information and Web sites the user is able to access. This is a popular method used by ISPs in order to keep the user navigating only specific areas of the Web, whether for the purpose of shielding users from information -- such as restricting children's access to pornography -- or directing users to paid content that the ISP supports. America Online is a good example of an ISP that places users in a walled garden.
Schools are increasingly using the walled garden approach in creating browsing environments in their networks. Students have access to only limited Web sites, and teachers need a password in order to leave the walled garden and browse the Internet in its entirety.

Definition taken from

What is filtering?

Internet content filtering systems prevent or block users’ access to unsuitable material online. When the filtering system is turned on, users cannot open or link to sites that the filtering system recognises as unsuitable. Various methods for filtering content are available, such as keyword matching or blocking, site blocking, keyboard blocking, or protocol-blocking systems. Many filtering systems will also provide facilities to filter or block applications also, such as email and file-sharing applications.
The main aim of filtering content is minimise the risk of users accessing inappropriate or illegal content online. Although some categories of content will clearly be inappropriate for all children and young people – for example those promoting pornography, violence, racist or criminal content.

Found at

Filtering and Walled Gardens