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How can I monitor what my child is doing online?

Answer: It is important to monitor your child’s online activities so you know where your child is spending time online. Your child should be sharing their password with you; this will allow parents to monitor activity on the device. Passwords should not be changed without letting you and the teacher know. Your child should not be using their device alone in their bedroom, for example.

You can check your child’s online activities by going to the browser history. A browser is a software application that lets you search the internet and visit websites. Here are some simple instructions on how to track where your child is going on their iPad from the Children’s Rights Council:

Quick and easy: Checking Browser History – Tips for Parents video

To get a more detailed look at the iPad browser history function, please see the diagrams below.


Step 1: Within the iPad’s Safari browser, click the Bookmarks icon at the top of the screen.


Step 2. Click again on History to see a list of visited websites.

Remember Your child could be tech savvy as well. It’s easy to delete your internet history. If you look into the history and there is nothing or barely anything there. Your child might be deleting their history because they are hiding something. If that is so, you need to have a talk with them about what is and is not appropriate to look at in your house

What if my child chooses not to share their password with me?

Answer: All students should be sharing their passwords with their parents and teacher. Sharing a password allows parents to monitor what their child is doing with their device at school and at home. However, some students may not share their password with their parents or change their password without letting the teacher know. If this becomes a concern, the device can be wiped clean, and a new password installed. This may mean that your child loses any work they have completed on the device, and they may be without their device for several days. Your child’s teacher is able to reset the password for web sites used in the classroom (e.g.: Google Drive), and the IIT technician for the school is able to reset the lock-screen password on the device.

If you have any concerns about what your child is sharing with you, please connect with your child’s teacher.

How safe are the devices?

Answer: We want to ensure that your child’s device provides a safe link to the outside world, but they need to learn how to connect safely as well. These skills are called Digital Citizenship [see details below] and they are an important part of what your child is learning with their device. There is no way to control what a child accesses once the device leaves the school board’s network, so it is important for parents to work closely with their child to monitor use outside the classroom.

What are filters and how can they be used to block content I don’t think is appropriate for my child?

An Internet filter is software installed on your Internet router, or provided by your Internet Service Provider. It restricts information delivered over the Internet. The Board uses a filter to block content when a device is used in our schools or buildings. The filter makes sure our students don’t access inappropriate content at school. We encourage parents to apply filtering on their home network.

At HWDSB, filtering occurs within the data centre at our Education Centre. Think of our data centre like security at the airport. All the data passes through security checkpoints and anything inappropriate is removed before it can get through the gates. Palo Alto frequently updates its restricted content listing to filter new, inappropriate content.

Are there different filters of what students can access depending on the grade?

Answer: Content filtering is controlled at a board-wide network level. This is the same content that is available regardless of device or grade. We have applied the highest level of filtering possible to ensure inappropriate content is not delivered to students. Any further increases to this filter setting would block sites such as Google altogether and limit what students and teachers use for educational purposes.

What filters are currently in place for students?

Answer: HWDSB uses Palo Alto, a leader in network traffic management, as the firewall to filter all traffic at HWDSB when the device is used in our schools and buildings. Its content filtering is intended for school-age children.

What is the type of content we are filtering out?

Answer: We filter inappropriate content that falls under categories such as ‘abused drugs’, ‘adult’, ‘auctions’, ‘dating’, ‘gambling’, ‘hacking’, ‘malware’, ‘nudity’, ‘parked domains’, ‘peer-to-peer’, ‘phishing’, ‘proxy and anonymizers’, ‘questionable’, ‘weapons’, ‘swimsuits and intimate apparel.’

Do the Board filters work at home?

No. The Board filter only works when devices are used within our schools and buildings. Once the device goes home, the Board filters do not apply. We encourage parents to apply filtering on their current home network.

The following tools can filter Internet content in your home before it even arrives on your child’s device or computer.


Here are links to security pages from various Internet Service Providers (ISPs):


If YouTube must be permitted, does it need to be permitted for all grades and ages?

Answer: YouTube can be accessed regardless if an individual has an account or not. HWDSB, like most Boards, has open access to YouTube because of the many educational applications and digital streaming resources available to our staff and students. This does not mean that we believe that all of the content on YouTube is appropriate for student use. When YouTube is used in the classroom, it is done with teacher supervision.

How else can families support safe learning for students at home?

Answer: Parents can do a variety of things if they would like to encourage their children to become good digital citizens:

  • In addition to filters, you can set your browser to “Safe Search” to avoid stumbling on mature content. You can also limit screen time if you cap Internet usage through your Internet Service Provider.
  • Young children should only go online if supervised, so spend time online as a family.

• Your child should not use a web-enabled device like an iPad or computer in their room; instead, choose a spot in the house that is easy to monitor.