Differentiated filtering implemented

posted May 23, 2019, 6:31 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated Aug 10, 2019, 4:11 AM ]
The strictness of the Relay filter for take-home Chromebooks vary by school.

High School

The filter is most restrictive on Mondays-Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. during the academic year and from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. during the summer (due to summer school classes). Outside of those hours, it relaxes to allow more access to blogs, entertainment, games, instant messaging, music, and social media. YouTube access is relaxed as well, although Restricted Mode and Age Restrictions still apply.

Middle School

Since middle school students can be 11 years old or sometimes younger, stringent filtering is on at all times with no relaxation after hours.

Chromebook filtering specifics

Only district accounts can login
Only district-provided student or staff accounts can be used to login to a district-provided Chromebook. It will not accept personal Google account credentials. Unfortunately, it also will not accept Tri-County Tech accounts since those are not part of the district's web domain.

Blocked website categories
The Lightspeed Relay extension on the Chromebooks checked out to students for take-home use will block, at all times, any websites Lightspeed has identified in the following categories except that the asterisked ones are allowed for high school students after school hours: 
  • ads
  • alcohol
  • auctions
  • audio/video
  • chat*
  • drugs
  • entertainment*
  • expired
  • Facebook*
  • forums*
  • gambling
  • games*
  • Instagram*
  • instant messaging*
  • mature
  • music*
  • parked websites
  • plagiarism
  • pornography
  • security threats
  • shopping*
  • social media*
  • spam
  • suspicious
  • Twitter*
  • unknown websites
  • violence
  • weapons
  • web domains outside the USA
Google searches
Relay is set to always enforce Google SafeSearch and filter Google image search thumbnails.

During the school day for high school students and at all times for middle school students, YouTube is restricted to approved educational videos. For high school students after hours, YouTube filtering is relaxed but is still set to YouTube Restricted Mode with YouTube Age Restrictions and to hide YouTube comments.

Parent supervision is the best filter

Despite our best efforts, mischievous students with time on their hands can sometimes find ways to defeat any filter we erect.

Parents who are concerned about how their children are using any device for internet access should consider restricting the access to the device to public areas of the home in their presence, such as at a dining table, in the shared living area, etc.

Home filtering technology

Parents can try using Parental Controls on their home WiFi routers or appliances to further restrict student access to various websites.  However,  home filtering only works if they are connected to your own home WiFi network. It has no effect if they connect to a cellular data hot spot or an open WiFi network within range.

The hard truth, whether or not the school provides a take-home device, is that parents must invest time in instilling a sense of personal responsibility in their children and encourage safe online behavior since there will always be opportunities to access the open internet using borrowed devices and students can sometimes defeat technological barriers.

Online resources

Common Sense Education offers a variety of age-appropriate resources for families:

Chrome Apps & Extensions installed via the Chrome Web Store
The Chrome Web Store can be used to install a variety of dedicated Chrome applications and extensions. The district only allows pre-approved apps and extensions to be installed on student Chromebooks. Those can be viewed by logging into the Chrome Web Store with a student's district account and selecting the For stu.bps-ok.org option.
Chrome Web Store

The various entries have some instructional purpose, such as basic utilities (e.g. Calculator), electronic textbook apps (e.g. Pearson Realize), academic programs (e.g. Quizlet and Kahoot), and various accessibility utilities which can make it easier for students with handicaps to use online services.

Don't confuse apps and extensions with websites
These restrictions on dedicated Chrome apps and extensions installed via the Chrome Web Store do NOT apply to websites in general. Those are blocked or allowed by the Lightspeed Relay filter as described earlier.