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Ask Slashdot: How To Best Setup a School Internet Filter? 454

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-how-you-play dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I was recently volunteered to be the network/computer admin for a small non-profit school. One of the items asked of me had to do with filtering inappropriate content (i.e. stuff you wouldn't want your mother to see). Essentially we want to protect people who aren't able to protect themselves, at least while on campus. Basic site filtering is fairly easy — setup squid with one of the many filtering engines and click to filter the categories your interested. Additionally, making the computer lab highly visible uses public shame and humiliation to limit additional activity. The real question — How do you filter Facebook? There is a lot of great content and features on Facebook, and its a great way to stay in contact with friends, but there is also a potentially dark side. Along with inappropriate content, there is a tendency to share more information than should be shared, and not everyone follows proper security and privacy guidelines. What's the best way to setup campus-wide security/privacy policies for Facebook?"
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Ask Slashdot: How To Best Setup a School Internet Filter?

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  • Re:lulz. good luck (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @07:42PM (#41018363)

    In a word, don't. Unlike adults, teenagers won't have any qualms about bypassing your filtering. They'll use proxies. Tor. Thumb drives with other operating systems on it. Mobile phones. Secret non-broadcasting wifi networks.

    Honestly, that's almost a good argument for implementing filtering. It challenges bright people to come up with clever solutions. Then they'll grow up with an interest in computers and networking, as well as a healthy distaste for censorship.

  • Re:lulz. good luck (Score:4, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @08:23PM (#41018769)

    Honestly, that's almost a good argument for implementing filtering. It challenges bright people to come up with clever solutions. Then they'll grow up with an interest in computers and networking, as well as a healthy distaste for censorship.

    Most people aren't bright, and for every person it fosters a love of exploration and challenge, it'll create fifty more who view it as normal and try to club the other kid over the head for trying to get them all into trouble. The best solution is not to censor at all, and to simply be open to the kids about what's okay and what's not, and why, and if they have questions to have role models they can talk to about it that won't judge them for being curious or looking. Telling a kid not to do something just makes them want it more.

    My mom tried for years to get my sister to wear mittens and hats when it was cold out (this is Minnesota, where winters can and do kill people very year). She'd never let her go outside without them, and was generally overbearing on the matter. Then she went on vacation for a few weeks in January and little sister asked to go for a walk. I saw how she was dressed -- no hat, no gloves, and asked if she thought she was dressed appropriately. She said yes. I opened the door. 10 minutes into our walk, she started complaining about how cold she was. I kept walking. She whined and said she wanted to go home. I kept walking, reminding her she said she was dressed appropriately and I was going to hold her to that. Another 10 minutes goes by and now she's shivering, stuffing her fingers in her sleeves, her pockets, finally pulling her arms out of the jacket entirely so her hands could stay out of the cold. Her nose and ears were red, and she looked miserable. Another 10 minutes goes by and she's stopped whining now and limping along miserably. We get back in the house, and she doesn't take off the jacket or anything, just goes to her room, pulls the blanket over her head, and remains miserable. About 5 minutes later I came in and took her shoes and socks off (which had become wet), put dry ones on, and put an electric blanket on her feet to warm them back up. She was fine after that.

    She's never left the house without a hat or gloves since. Lesson learned.

  • Re:Don't (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:19PM (#41019545) Homepage Journal

    I work at a college and we do no filtering of any kind due to academic freedom. There are issues from time to time but it is tolerated in the name of freedom.

    I guess the person asking the question didn't specify, but I was under the assumption that this was for an elementary level type school....so, you're policing children, and you'd likely start with things mostly turned off, and then let on what you needed as required by the instructors.

    Also, if that is the case...wouldn't most of these kids be too young to have FB accounts per the TOS for Facebook? If that's the case...no problem in banning FB entirely, eh?

  • Re:Don't (Score:4, Interesting)

    by crashumbc (1221174) on Friday August 17, 2012 @07:39AM (#41022097)

    In addition or "better" make the parents give you a E-mail address where a monthly report of every high website the student visited will be mailed...

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. -- Cartoon caption

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