Computers and internet access have become essential tools in education at nearly all levels; there are even applications that are educationally appropriate for children still in kindergarten. One side effect of using computers in schools, however, is potential misuse - students are not always the best judge of where they should go online.
IT solutions to this conundrum include a well-managed content filter. These kinds of filters block certain websites based on a user's profile. In most schools, students belong to a user group with high restrictions on website access. Even an excellent content filter, however, is not a complete solution. It takes time for new sites to be added to a filter, and if to address this problem, only verified-safe sites can be accessed, students will be denied many highly useful and appropriate sites. Even a keyword filter has its problems. Students researching breast cancer statistics, for example, may well find all search results blocked because every such site uses the word "breast."
With a managed services approach to IT, however, adequate monitoring can be set up in order to track student computer use. Programs can be set up to log every website visited by each student so that records can be reviewed at will by staff possessing the correct authorization. Some applications can also take screenshots at regular intervals so a visual record of student activity is created. These programs can be configured to track all students, or to concentrate their efforts on individuals who have previously violated school rules on computer use.