At school, students are filtered on the internet through Smoothwall. This is a cloud-based web filter with no software downloaded onto the device. We also use Sophos at school, but it is not downloaded onto the chromebook. Smoothwall enables any device using the school’s internet to be filtered. However, when your student brings their school-managed chromebook home the web filter is no longer active. Because the chromebooks are school-managed a lot of settings cannot be changed and no software can be downloaded. Many of web filters require both settings to be changed and software to be downloaded. Below is a brief description of web filters for your student’s device at home that do not require settings to be changed on the chromebook or software downloaded.
None of the following solutions are managed or officially endorsed by Lewiston School District.
Protect Young Eyes
Protect Young Eyes is a internet site and advocacy group dedicated to providing children with a safer internet experience. They provide courses and reviews on several filtering tools. On their profile page for Chromebooks they list 5 layers of Chromebook Protection: Guard the location of the Chromebook, Love your WiFi (router), Set-up the Chromebook correctly, use clean DNS on the Chrombook, and Try to use Family Link. Below are some resources for filtering the internet with the router.
Filters on Routers
The router provides the internet and filters can be placed on the router that will filter the interent on any device that uses it. Searching for parental controls for the router you currently have should lead to good options. Here are the directions for parental controls for NetGear, Linksys, Arris, Hitron, CenturyLink.
Protect Young Eyes highly recommends Gryphon. Gryphon is a router you can buy that includes a filtering service. CleanerNet is another router option, but they also sell devices that plug into your router (if it is compatible). CleanRouter is another router option. They also have a page that explains how the router filter works. Here is LiveWire’s rundown on 9 router options.
Cloud Based Web Filter
Another option is putting a filter on the web browsers, allowing them or not allowing them to open up sites. It also works on any device using the internet. Cybersecurity offers a more detailed explanation here. An example is WebTitan. Here’s a list of 10.
DNS filtering stands for Domain Name System filtering and is a technique of preventing you from accessing certain web pages or IP addresses that seem suspicious. It is similar to a cloud based filter. Cloudflare is one such service and here is their explanation on what DNS filters are. GeekFlare also explains DNS filtering and lists 8, but some of these need to be downloaded. CleanBrowsing has some free DNS blocking.
Google’s Family Link
Google has an app called family link that works as a web filter specifically for google. If you set it up on a separate chromebook, you should be able to add the school account as a secondary account and be used on the school managed chromebook.