Protecting Our Kids: Are Schools Properly Limiting Students’ Online Access

Media Division | April 19, 2017

Technology and cyberspace have become more widely used than ever.  It has become part and parcel of the daily operations of our society and allows us to perform a wide array of different functions and processes.  Most organizations rely on technology to be able to function and perform daily tasks.  Schools have been one such sector in which technology has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for students and teachers alike.  Students are able to do homework on the internet or turn in assignments online.  There are typically computers scattered throughout a school that students can use for a variety of purposes.  And in some schools, grants and funding have provided laptops to students that they can use for school purposes.  But, while these implementations have been largely beneficial, there have also been risks associated with it.  One of the more major risks being that students have been able to access explicit and inappropriate online content.

The Prominence of Objectionable Content on School Computers

The reality is that kids often attempt to access inappropriate or explicit content on their home and school computers.  And unfortunately, many of these school computers are lacking proper security and filtering systems, which leads to kids being able to access this type of content and material.  There have been a variety of instances related to this.  For instance, a Mississippi School Board discovered that around 20 percent of 150 school computers from 9 school districts were able to access explicit material.  The study also found that around 82% of computers from 11 high schools and 86% percent of computers from 7 middle schools contained objectionable material like pornography.

The lack of proper filtering such as this is quite inexcusable.  The reality is that proper filtering of material is really not that difficult to implement, and a lackadaisical approach to this is simply irresponsible.

The Consequences of Ineffective Filtering and Security

While the provision of in-school computers and laptops for students is a highly beneficial operation, there needs to be much more attention focused on the protection and filtering of the content that they are able to access.  Devices such as this are purely for academic purposes. Explicit and inappropriate websites can be quite insecure, and when students are accessing these sites, they open a whole new realm of potential device infections and compromises.  If these devices begin to be compromised, it could, in turn, lead to the breaching of the school networks to which they are connected.  The implementation of proper filtering, blocks, and security right off the bat is the most efficacious way to protect students, teachers, and the school from a wide array of damages.

The Use of Cyber Threat Assessments

There are a wide variety of threats and attackers that are lurking the web, and they are always looking for new ways to breach and exploit organizations.  It is ideal that organizations are able to stay up to date with regard to the various potential threats out there, as this allows them to implement the proper defenses and security to protect from these types of threats.  A thorough cyber threat assessment (CTA) allows an organization to do just this.  A CTA is a culmination of intelligence from all over the web (including the deep web), that provides an overview of the various threats, potential losses, events, and trends in regard to a brand or entity.  Massive Alliance can provide an extremely comprehensive cyber threat assessment that can inform an organization of what they are up against and what they must protect.

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