The Concerns and Importance of Monitoring Student Activity on School-Owned Devices

The Concerns and Importance of Monitoring Student Activity on School-Owned Devices


The increasing integration of technology in K12 education has led to a crucial conversation about the importance of monitoring student activity on school-owned devices. As students navigate the digital world, schools face a dual challenge: protecting students from harmful content and behaviors, and mitigating potential liabilities arising from unmonitored use of these devices.

The Need for Monitoring

Schools across the U.S. are increasingly using monitoring technologies to track students’ online activity. While these tools offer potential benefits, such as protecting students from inappropriate content, preventing self-harm or harm to others, etc. they also raise concerns about privacy and responsible use​​. Incidents where students’ research for school assignments was flagged as inappropriate highlight the delicate balance between safety and educational freedom​​.

Impact on Students

Monitoring can significantly impact students, particularly when they feel restricted in expressing themselves online due to being monitored. Nearly 60% of students have reported feeling “held back” from saying what they wanted online due to monitoring. Such incidents can lead to feelings of frustration, humiliation, and a fear of engaging online​​.

School Response and Trust

The response of schools to flagged activities can sometimes be disproportionate, leading to stressful situations for students and parents, especially when students unknowingly interact with flagged content​​. Furthermore, students’ perception of a lack of privacy can erode trust in their educators, affecting their sense of belonging in school​​.

Privacy Concerns

The handling of incidents related to monitoring often lacks confidentiality, leading to embarrassment for students. In some cases, the exposure of a student’s behavior using a school-issued device has occurred without their consent​​. Incidents like connecting personal devices to school laptops, leading to unintended content sharing, also raise privacy concerns​​.

Risks of Not Monitoring

The absence of monitoring on school-owned devices can expose students and schools to various risks.

Safety Concerns of Not Monitoring

Without monitoring, students may inadvertently access harmful or inappropriate content, or become targets of cyberbullying, which can lead to serious emotional and psychological impact​​​​.

Liability Issues of Not Monitoring

Schools may face legal consequences for failing to protect students from online dangers, especially considering laws like the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) that mandate some level of monitoring​​.

Threats to Mental Health of Not Monitoring

In recent times, there’s been an increased reliance on technology for learning. Monitoring technologies have played a critical role in identifying risks to student mental health, such as self-harm or suicidal ideation​​​​.

Recommendations for Administrators considering monitoring student’s online activity

To address the challenges of balancing the concerns mentioned above with the safety of their students, administrators who elect to deploy tools that monitor and report on the student’s online activity should follow certain best practices for developing monitoring policies, such as listed below, but not limited to…

Develop Effective Policies: Developing effective monitoring policies involves several key steps:

Define the Scope: Clearly outline what will be monitored – whether it’s internet browsing, email communication, or app usage on school devices​​​​​​​​

Choose Appropriate Tools: Select monitoring tools that align with the school’s needs. Tools like Linewize Monitor offer real-time assessment and alerting of online behavior and risks​​​​.

Ensure Compliance with Laws: Be aware of legal requirements, such as CIPA, and ensure policies comply with them​​.

Involve Stakeholders: Engage parents, teachers, and students in the policy development process to ensure transparency and acceptance​​.

Educate and Communicate: Clearly communicate the purpose and extent of monitoring to students and parents. Transparency is key to maintaining trust and understanding​​.

Implement Monitoring Tools: Implementation of monitoring solutions should be straightforward and non-intrusive:

Deployment: Solutions like Linewize Monitor can be implemented with minimal technical effort, sometimes as easily as flipping a switch or downloading a client​​.

Data Analysis and Response: The monitoring system should be capable of assessing risks and alerting staff in real-time for serious concerns​​. The most effective systems should utilize live human moderators who review activity 24×7 in real-time, and can place direct phone calls to assigned staff or safety personnel, should an issue be detected which is determined to rise to a level where immediate intervention may be necessary. 

Communicate Policies: Effective communication of monitoring policies is crucial:

Transparency: Provide detailed information to students and parents about what is being monitored, why, and how data is used.

Consent and Agreement: Obtain consent from parents and agreement from students, especially when personal data is involved.

Regular Updates: Keep the school community informed about any changes or updates in the monitoring policies or tools.


Monitoring students on school-owned devices is a complex yet necessary aspect of modern education that requires careful consideration and a balanced approach. It ensures student safety, fulfills legal obligations, and supports a healthy learning environment. Schools must balance the need for safety with respect for privacy, making transparency, communication, and stakeholder involvement key in developing and implementing effective monitoring policies. Effective policies and practices should aim to protect students from online risks while fostering an environment of openness and educational freedom.

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FilteredNet has been selling webfilters and I.T. security solutions to K12 schools since 1995.

We work with I.T. security vendors covering a range of internet security services including webfilters, classroom managers and student-online monitoring/alerting tools by vendors such as Linewize by FamilyZoneContentKeeper and Blocksi.

To learn more about our services, or schedule a demo contact us today.

10 Reasons to Buy from a Value-Added-Reseller (VAR)

10 Reasons to Buy from a Value-Added-Reseller (VAR)

Here are ten reasons why buying from a value-added reseller (VAR) can be beneficial for your K12 school district:

  1. Expertise: VARs have specialized knowledge and expertise in the products and solutions they offer, which can help school districts make informed purchasing decisions.
  2. One-stop-shop: VARs offer a wide range of products and solutions from multiple vendors, making it easier for school districts to purchase everything they need from a single source.
  3. Customization: VARs can help school districts customize solutions to meet their specific needs and requirements.
  4. Cost savings: VARs often have access to special pricing and discounts, which can help school districts save money on their purchases.
  5. Support: VARs provide ongoing support and maintenance for the products and solutions they sell, which can help school districts keep their technology running smoothly.
  6. Training: VARs can provide training and education on the products and solutions they offer, helping school districts maximize their investment.
  7. Integration: VARs can help school districts integrate new technology solutions with existing systems and infrastructure.
  8. Scalability: VARs can help school districts plan for future growth and scalability, ensuring that their technology investments can grow with them.
  9. Proven track record: Many VARs have a proven track record of working with other organizations and providing high-quality solutions and support.
  10. Accountability: VARs are accountable for the products and solutions they sell, which can provide peace of mind for school districts and help ensure that they are getting the most value from their investments.

FilteredNet has been selling Internet Security solutions to K12 schools since 1995.

We work with I.T. security vendors to provide a range of internet security services to our K12 customers, including web filtering, classroom management, and student online safety monitoring.

To learn more about our services, or schedule a demo contact us today.

Has remote learning made snow days obsolete?

Has remote learning made snow days obsolete?

2020 was certainly a challenging year on so many levels for K12 school districts. But as the saying goes, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. For K12 schools, a sudden shift last year from in-person to at-home teaching created a need to provide remote access to instructional resources. While the transition was difficult for some schools at first, many districts were quick to adapt to the new learning environment.

Now some school districts, such as New York City public schools, have decided to nix snow days all together, opting for remote learning instead. Gone are the days where school buildings in NYC will be closed due to bad weather. Starting the 2021/22 school year, “The DOE will shift all students to remote instruction in lieu of cancelling schools due to severe weather conditions,” the DOE wrote in a statement provided to CNN.

With so many districts now fully supporting at-home instruction, schools are more prepared to switch to remote instruction at a moments notice. Due to damage and power outages at several schools in Fort Smith, Texas, for example, teachers and students at Fort Smith Public Schools used their remote learning plan for the day.

Although switching back and forth based on the needs for that day are made easier by remote learning technologies, securing school owned devices while at home and protecting students while online is more important than ever. Web filtering solutions that can decrypt SSL traffic and accurately report on all student’s surfing activities are crucial; basic DNS filters are no longer enough.

Hybrid-cloud based solutions such as the Linewize Web Filter provide school districts with a web filtering system and classroom management tool equipped with selective SSL decryption, red flag safety alerts, teacher/student screen sharing, and cyber safety education for the community.

Other hybrid-cloud web filters like the ContentKeeper Web Filter not only provide selective SSL decryption, but application controls that allow schools to identify & block suspicious apps such as BitTorrent, Psiphon or Ultrsurf that students us to circumvent school web filters & anonymously access the Dark Web.

Whether students will be learning at home, in school, or a combination of both, technology stands at the ready, and security solutions are finally available to provide the digital safety net needed to help districts keep their students safe while online at home.

FilteredNet has been selling webfilters and I.T. security solutions to K12 schools since 1995.

We work with I.T. security vendors covering a range of internet security services, including webfilter solutions such as Linewize by FamilyZone and ContentKeeper.

To learn more about our services, or schedule a demo contact us today.

The CARES Act: Financial Support for Online Learning

The CARES Act: Financial Support for Online Learning


The CARES Act, short for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act,  was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27, 2020. It provides funding for school districts facing the increased costs of shifting to online learning and managing the coronavirus-related health and safety issues. 

In short, the CARES Act provides funding that will allow states, and thus public school districts, to respond to challenges they find themselves facing due to the COVID-19 emergency.


The economic aid package directs billions in federal funding to K-12 schools, and also provides states and schools the ability to request waivers of certaing federal mandates from U.S Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Moffat Miller said “this package provides historic levels of emergency funding” and the prospect of “much-needed resources.”


The Act includes $13.5 billion for public schools in K-12 formula grants via an Education Stabilization Fund.

The funds are distributed to states based on their share of ESEA Title I-A funds. At least 90 percent of the funds will be distributed by the state education agencies to school districts based on their share of the Title 1-A funds.

An additional $3 billion would be for the Governor’s Education Relief Fund to use as they determine to help K-12 schools (and higher Ed.) as they deal with the negative ramifications of Covid-19.


Schools can use the money they receive to support a number of learning needs under the Every Student Succeeds Act, and other federal education laws, including remote learning if schools are closed.

The funds can also be used to purchase educational technology in the direct support of online/remote learning.

Schools can also seek waivers from a Title IV provision which caps the overall amount of money that can be spent on internet-connected devices.


The CARES Act grants authority to Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, to waive states and school’s assessment an accountability requirements. (DeVos has allowed states to seek waivers from standardized testing.)

States and schools can also ask for waivers from several funding requirements about the amount they spend year-over-year.

School districts can use a larger portion of Title-IV grants to purchase devices. Previously, only 15% of Title IV-A funds could be used to purchase technology infrastructure. This limit is lifted under the CARES Act.


The above is a very brief summary the allocation of funding for K-12 schools under the new CARES Act. Below are additional resources you may find useful.

updated link: read inside to learn how much your state receives as part of an additional $3 billion in funding

FilteredNet has been selling webfilters and I.T. security solutions to K12 schools since 1995.

We work with I.T. security vendors covering a range of internet security services, including webfilter solutions such as Linewize by FamilyZone and ContentKeeper.

To learn more about our services, or schedule a demo contact us today.