This document outlines several options for families to filter the Internet connection available to their students. Be aware that no filtering option is perfect – all services will block some useful sites and let through some problematic ones. No technological solution is a substitute for regular conversations and mentoring with your student(s) about their online activity. Also know that schools may ask you to un-block certain sites or settings for student access as they will be needed for school activities.
These options won’t filter the device itself, but rather your home network and Internet traffic.
Open DNS is a tool that provides three options for home Internet filtering. Each option takes advantage of the DNS (Domain Name System) and requires that you point your home router or modem to a particular set of servers for checking domain names and IP addresses. All services are available via their website. Most are free.
Option 1 – OpenDNS Home is a free and customizable home filtering solution. You can choose what categories of sites to block on your home network, and OpenDNS will not allow that content through your modem or router.
Option 2 – OpenDNS Home VIP costs $19.95/year and allows for more customization as well as access to live customer support.
Option 3 – OpenDNS Family Shield is a free service that blocks only the sites they have determined are adult.
Device-Based Options for Internet Filtering and Restrictions
Apple offers several parental controls in iOS. You can learn more about how to use them on their website.
If you do implement any Internet restrictions, please be sure to allow-list (add to the Always Allow listing) the following sites. This list may not be exhaustive and is subject to change as the curriculum providers edit their content.
Check-in with your students from time to time to ensure that your family choices are not interfering with students’ ability to complete their school work.
- If you choose to restrict app installation, be aware that your school or your student may occasionally ask you to install apps on your student’s iPad for school use. A link to apps that are required and recommended as well as directions for downloading apps provided by the district can be found on the school LTP website or on the Parent Information page linked on your student’s iPad
- Third-Party Browser Apps – There are several third-party browsers available in the Apple App Store that may offer a filtered Web experience. These cannot be installed on district iPads provided to students, but you might wish to explore them for home use on other devices.