10 Tips to Customize Your K-12 School Web Filter

At the heart of our K-12 school web filter, Web Filter 3: Longhorn, is the adaptive AI database. Our Web Filter has a robot army and human team reviewing millions of URLs in our database each day, keeping students safe online. This means school IT teams have the freedom to focus on other projects, like customizing the filter to fit their districts’ needs.

Recently, we hosted a webinar on helpful tips and tricks to get the most out of Web Filter 3: Longhorn. Catch the entire webinar replay, part of our Summer of Longhorn series.

Right out of the box, the Lightspeed Web Filter is CIPA compliant — but we provide you with simple ways to tailor the rules and categorizations.

Read on for our top tips and leave us a comment about how you’re personalizing your filter policies!

1. Set up lockouts to restrict students’ internet access if they attempt to access blocked web content. You receive an email every time this happens, and the student gets locked out of internet access for a set period of time (15 minutes, for instance) to ensure they stay focused on learning.

2. Allow students and staff to submit blocked sites for review. Enable a required email address and reason for asking a site be unblocked to ensure this function is used properly.

3. Follow this best practice: Block websites categorized as unknown. (Filter bypass tools often fall into the unknown category.) Any new websites will be categorized within 24 hours of our robot army discovering them.

4. Create a redirect URL to keep students on track. Take entire categories, like social networks, and redirect any attempts to access those sites to a URL of your preference.

5. Worried about malicious downloads? Block file extensions for downloads so they don’t wreak havoc on student devices.

6. Test your connectivity and reload the category database at the end of the year in the Operations section of the filter. This returns your settings to the master database categorization for easy local categorization clean-up.

7. Upgrade your filter today to the latest version of Longhorn to get the best features. Now is the best time before school kicks into high gear!

8. Enable Smart Play, the best way to allow educational YouTube content in just a click. See this brand-new feature in action here.

9. Know when to recategorize and when to use URL Patterns. You should recategorize sites when you believe the category is inaccurate for your organization. URL Patterns are the preferred method of allowing/blocking a site when you want to allow the site for certain users only, not your entire organization. Learn more about the differences between URL Patterns and recategorization here.

10. Check out reports. Reports like traffic by category give you a quick snapshot of internet use.

The Lightspeed Systems machine-learning database categorizes 2 million websites a day for the most robust and smart filtering solution. The best part? There’s still room for control with local allow/block settings plus category policy management.

Want a web filter with a smart database built just for K-12? Request a demo to see how easy it is to set up and personalize for your unique one-to-one.

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