What’s the issue?
Google have announced that at the end of January they will make changes to the way it returns search results in any Google searches, including Google Image searches.
This change will make it impossible for Internet filtering products to continue to effectively filter search results, meaning that school pupils and staff will be at greater risk of being exposed to inappropriate images and content if care is not taken to search accurately and sensitively.
We strongly urge you to contact your Internet service provider and filtering provider to see how they plan to protect your school community online as this change could represent a real safeguarding issue. It means that it is likely that inappropriate material could appear in search results in the form of inappropriate links, thumbnail images etc. Whilst there has always been a slight potential for this to happen in the past, as no filtering system is 100% secure; the changes Google will make means that the possibility for inappropriate content to pass by filters has increased enough for us to be concerned.
What about Google SafeSearch?
You can apply Google SafeSearch; however this is not something that we would recommend you do as your only filtering to Google. Although SafeSearch will filter out content deemed as ‘mature’ by Google, it may still display content that you do not want your school community exposed to. It does not give you the control or flexibility to pick and choose particular sites. As a school with safeguarding responsibilities, we would not recommend SafeSearch as an appropriate filtering level.
Google have informed us that this change will occur at the end of January; no Internet service provider has any control over this. If this date changes we’ll let you know. As we mentioned, we recommend that you contact your current Internet service provider to see how they plan to respond to this change. If you are an RM Broadband customer you should have received a number of emails from us around this issue and should expect a call if you have not already done so, all RM Broadband customers can speak to a specialist on this dedicated number 01235 826 263.