Keep children safe online at home using the same web filtering technology LGfL uses to protect schools.
LGfL HomeProtect is nothing like the simple ‘family settings’ available from consumer ISPs and is available for managed Windows devices, Chromebooks or iPads.
Keeping children safe is in LGfL’s DNA. We have long been known for safeguarding expertise, in education, training, research & policy – but also technology. For many years we have provided schoolsafe internet filtering, but now we are launching supersafe web filtering for the home.
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Why is HomeProtect better than the family settings on a home router?
HomeProtect is much safer than the family settings on a home internet connection, which are typically limited to pornography, illegal sites, or perhaps an alcohol block stops you seeing the menu for your pub lunch. These systems cannot effectively protect children and young people from harm. HomeProtect, however, is based on enterprise-grade, school-safe Netsweeper technology which we have used to carefully curate allow and block lists from over 100 categories to meet the needs of a home learner, allowing the necessary technologies but blocking obvious harms.
Which devices does HomeProtect filter?
HomeProtect is available for Windows devices, Chromebooks and iPad (please note iPad system restriction in question below).
Does it filter wifi and mobile networks?
The system filters the internet regardless of your connection, because it is integral to the device. So whether wifi, mobile, home, shopping centre or school, your students will be filtered. That’s what makes it safe – using a different wifi or a mobile hotspot won’t bypass any protections; nor will VPN or DNS-changing apps.
Will it work in school?
HomeProtect isn’t designed to be used in school (it is not the same as WebScreen), but will work there if you want it to. It is a deliberately simple and easy-to-use system, whereas most schools will expect more controls and the usual school policies to apply - so we can disable it automatically when a device joins the school network if you tell us your public IP address range when placing your order.
What are the options / which sites are blocked?
You can initially apply one of two policies:
Safe with Gaming & Social Media ALLOWED
Safe with Gaming & Social Media BLOCKED
Schools have a range of opinions on social media and gaming (especially when pupils are at home on school devices), hence the choice. Beyond that, however, you are unlikely to need to change our single safe filtering policy, designed to meet the needs of learners at home. This is a careful curation of categories from the 100+ available in the Netsweeper system to keep children and young people safe when surfing at home. The list is different to sites typically available in a school - for example we have ensured that all key video-meeting platforms are allowed, along with any sites which might be used for homework or research, but that tasteless and potentially harmful sites are blocked.
Can you be more specific about what is blocked?
There are over 100 categories but the kinds of things we have blocked include themes otherwise accessible on a standard home connection: adult content which is not pornography (nudity, erotica, sexual drawings), plus swimwear, adware, malware and sites used to hide other sites, alcohol, drugs and smoking sites and promotion, bullying, body modification, self-harm and promotion of poor body image, criminal skills, hacking, drugs and weapons, terrorism and other extreme sites, rude, tasteless and hateful speech, gambling, dating and more.
Can I change the sites which are blocked or allowed?
The system is intended to be as simple as possible for safe use at home (different to the varied needs of schools when on site), so we don't think you are likely to need changes. However, if you use G Suite or Office 365, a member of staff can be granted access to a management portal for more granular access to choose categories and allow or block sites for all students in the school. Students signing into Chromebooks and Windows devices will automatically pick up this customised policy. Students using iPads will be prompted to sign into the browser with their Office 365/G Suite credentials upon first launch.
What about YouTube and Vimeo?
YouTube is allowed but we strongly recommend that you force restricted mode (so it cannot be turned off) to prevent inappropriate videos being shown. This is managed in a different way by each platform and we describe this in the instructions for each system installation.
What’s different about Apple (for iPad)?
iPad internet traffic cannot be monitored at a device level in the same way as other Chromebooks and Windows devices, so schools using HomeProtect on iPad must use the dedicated HomeProtect browser and disable all other browsers (such as Safari, Chrome, Firefox and others) - otherwise students would simply use a different browser to bypass the filter. Once installed, however, HomeProtect filters in the same way as the other systems. Please note that you can only roll out the HomeProtect App via Apple School Manager so if you do not have managed iPads via ASM you should not purchase Apple licences.
What’s different about Chrome?
HomeProtect on Chrome has the added bonus of applying to an entire Chrome profile. That means if you apply the licence to a student in the G Suite console, they will be filtered on school Chromebooks AND any other Chromebook they sign into with that login AND on the Chrome browser on any device once they log in. So you could apply licenses to all students and then suggest to parents to ask their children to always use that profile when online at home (by logging on with it to the family chromebook or by logging into the chrome browser on any other device).
How do I install HomeProtect?
When you purchase licences, we will send you full instructions for the operating system you have chosen. Installation is quick and easy and not dissimilar to standard new Windows software / Apple apps / Chrome extensions. For Chrome, the G Suite console is used, for iPad you must use Apple School Manager and your MDM, and for Windows it can be installed in one of the many ways that schools install software onto devices – as long as the user does not have local admin privileges (so cannot uninstall it).
Will students notice anything different on their devices?
The first time a user accesses the internet when filtered by HomeProtect they will be presented with an information screen to inform them of this. Thereafter, they will only see a difference if they try to access a blocked site, when an LGfL HomeProtect block page will be shown. Otherwise, they will not notice any difference and will not need to do anything differently.
Is there logging and reporting?
No, HomeProtect is initially anonymised, with no logging or reporting. However, we plan to enhance the system by adding logging and reporting in due course .