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Content filtering needs an intelligent approach to match up to the evolving world online

A report by the House of Lords published earlier this year called Growing up with the Internet called on the industry to do more in the field of content filtering to protect children online. Although it is clear that there needs to be action, some IT leaders feel that a blanket approach may be heavy-handed. The report does highlight that the responsibility does not lie with the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) alone but is shared by a group of stakeholders, including the Government, schools, parents, children and the voluntary sector.

Although we agree that protecting children online requires a broad approach and includes education and input from a number of stakeholders, schools can’t wait around for all the disparate groups to agree on a new standard. This is a priority for any school looking to provide online access because they have a duty of care to the children. That’s why we offer a range of safeguarding tools which includes intelligent content filtering to schools so that they can open up the best parts of the internet to pupils using it as a learning tool and protect them from the worst aspects of the world-wide web.

One thing that is clear from the current debate is that one size will not fit all, and for this reason we provide flexible solutions that allow, for example, different levels of access for staff and pupils. It is also worth remembering that it’s not just children that may need protection, and similar requirements may apply in a business, where some departments may have their internet access more strictly filtered than others. For example, you may not want your team to have access to social networks during work hours, but some teams like customer services or marketing may need access to perform their roles.

The internet continues to grow and change in nature and that’s why the best approach isn’t to apply strict rules. Our content filtering uses an intelligent system that continues to evolve and adapt with your requirements. For example, a school may eliminate most issues and then new sites or subjects may pose a threat. We can alert staff so that they are aware of what’s happening on the network and can take appropriate action.

Content filtering isn’t something you can implement once and forget about. It requires an intelligent solution which is constantly evolving to respond to new threats as they arise. Even if ISPs are held to stricter standards in the future, it’s important to bear in mind that there will always be something new around the corner and a specialist system can be more finely-tuned to detect and neutralise any problematic content.