How Web Filtering and Monitoring can Help Educational Establishments Meet UK Statutory Requirements

Here at Netsweeper, we have about six and a half thousand schools in the UK alone who use us at any given time who must be up to date with all the latest legislation. In this post, we’ll show you how we help them meet statutory requirements using web filtering and monitoring.

Netsweeper is a cloud native product, so we were designed and built specifically for you on cloud architecture. Essentially, this means our system is designed to work in an at-home type of environment. 

We have at-home filtering and monitoring functioning on the same platform. So, we can bring together disparate data sets to produce a filtering and monitoring database that can be used for everyone from the educational staff to the safeguarding and pastoral staff to allow you to meet your regulatory requirements.  

We offer real-time alerting and monitoring; that’s just a requirement in the modern, legislative landscape. 

As far as safeguarding goes, a lot of abuse and problems occur on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. So, we need to be able to exert some control over that. Again, you can do that with Netsweeper, and we have specific UK legislative character categories. 

We categorize new websites when we see them, and we fit them to appropriate policies to allow our customers to use them for blocking or allowing purposes. For safeguarding and monitoring purposes, it allows our customers to stay ahead of the curve.  

Sometimes when we say we’re a dynamic filter, people say, well, yeah, but how much does that do in reality? How many times a day does that physically get used?  

And the answer is published to all our customers on our website every hour.  

One thing we always get told is that we do more in English. 

And its sort of true — about 85% of all content that exists on the internet is published in English. The global language of the internet is English. So, we tend to have far more content that’s classified in the English language, but Netsweeper works in 47 languages.  

Our nMonitor solution is our new digital safeguarding tool. It works fully off-site to keep people ahead of the curve and in-line with this guidance. It’s a product which primarily uses two different pieces of technology. 

The first is keystroke logging. So, when I press a key on my keyboard, it will recognize what I’m doing.  

The second is OCR (optical character recognition), which basically means that if words appear on my screen in any form, a computer reads and finds out what it says, it scans the page content, desktop content, and user submitted data, and it uses our same artificial intelligence technology to pick up safeguarding words. 

It fills a hole in what web filters have done for the previous 20 years. Web filters used to only filter the web. If I go onto a Word document and I type in that I’m getting bullied at school or if I type in that I’m having a tough time, or if I go into a chat and I’m speaking to someone that I shouldn’t be speaking to, we can start to look for triggers and then deal with those safeguarding events properly. 

These types of events would have never traditionally been picked up by a web filtering business because it’s a legitimate URL.

We’ve been using communication platforms on the internet and we don’t block them. So, we’ve got to go deeper than that. And especially when we’re talking about at-home learning environments, and if we are sending children home with laptops and expecting them to learn, then we’re sending them home with communication platforms and we need to make sure we’re monitoring appropriately. 

Want to learn more? This is an excerpt from our webinar featuring our UK Division Manager, Nick Levey, on how to digitally safeguard students in these challenging times. Click here to download the webinar.