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Safety and the Internet

What one man creates another can find a way around the obstacle.  Filters, protection software, antivirus software are all the product of individuals.  Other individuals can "outsmart" them.  In other words, never place all your confidence in a software application.  Your eyes are still the best filter available.  

The Filter Dilemma

Filtering software has been advertised as the answer to the issue of the free wheeling web where anything can be found.  Filtering software can work in several ways.

  • matching and screening content based on an internal database that rates the words for levels of being objectionable with the software
  • matching and screening content based on keywords on an external database accessed on the web
  • screening content based on certain ratings assigned to sites by a third party
  • scanning and filtering content based on a keyword phrase or text string
  • blocking based on the source of the information (URL)

Even with all the filters, the possibility of problem sites still exists.  Software does not filter the pixels that create a picture.  Pictures are an area of weakness for all filters.  Vigilance and close supervision are still the best filter for the educational setting. 

Simple precautions that assist with safety issues

  • create bookmark pages that feature carefully chosen sites reviewed by the teacher
  • talk to students before they go online about what is appropriate and what they should do if they feel they are in the "wrong" place
  • remind students that Internet access is a privilege that can be revoked
  • be aware and closely supervise when using the Internet
This page was updated on:  04/10/02