As we increase our use of technology at home and school, concerns arise about access to age-appropriate content. My position has been one of education first. I want parents, families, and teachers to talk to students about safe internet use, but I will concede that help is needed in the form of filters. We have conducted some research and found the following option (see below). In thinking of next school year, we are exploring an opt-in filter for families that would be provided by the tech department.
The devices below have pros and cons. I encourage you to talk with each other about what works and do some independent research, but I will caution you that this must be an active part of your parenting. Savvy kids will work to bypass the filters. Do not over-rely on any of these tools. Conversations with your kids and good modeling will also be key to working towards a viable solution for your family. In the classroom we will continue to work on tech skills with students that focus on internet searching and safety, online privacy, evaluating information, and tools for producing quality work.
ABC's Blackish has a fantastic episode that sums of much of the frustration and fear we are facing right now with students online. It gives great perspective and reinforces the solution of working as a family. I will add that the technology department, site admin, and teachers are committed to helping with the education of our students as they learn to learn online safety.