Surfing with safety

9th July 2004 at 01:00
I read with interest your article on parents' fear of lax internet policing (TES, June 18). As both a concerned parent and an IT professional, I fully agree that schools need guidance to ensure that they manage their internet access successfully and re-assure anxious parents.

Yet, the article did not mention the growing sophistication of filtration products on the market and government efforts to protect schools. Websites, such as that of the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA), offer guidance to schools on web security.

The internet is a vast resource containing millions of websites that change on a daily basis. Schools and local education authorities need to look for truly flexible technology, which can adjust to new threats and complement teaching.

The traditional and current view is that "no filtration system can stop everything" but I think it is important to mention that intelligent software, designed for schools, can be used to give the right balance of flexibility and security. In most cases, this technology is developed with the assistance and input of the LEA. With the right system in place, schools can set specific levels of web filtration suitable for teachers and pupils, while also addressing the concerns of parents.

The growing use of broadband in schools has also led to increased web traffic and web filtration. This will, no doubt, continue to be a concern.

However, the private and public sectors are working constantly to tackle this serious issue.

Peter Provins

UK sales manager, Freedom 2 7 Dukes Court Chichester, West Sussex

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