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iPad apps and proxy settings - filtering......

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Started by Carol Kendall 23 May 2013 4:21pm () Replies (24)

In one of the schools I work in we have a problem with some iPad apps (eg Sock Puppets) requesting an Admin password to a proxy setting. Apparently, there is a known issue with some apps and the proxy settings.  The solution, apparently, is to remove the proxy settings on the iPads. However this will create another issue.

By bypassing the server the school will lose the parental control filters built into the server, meaning any site on the internet will be available to the iPad users. These students are up to Year 6 in age. The way around this is apparently to download a parental control/filtering iPad app and use this on each iPad.

The Principal would not like to have the iPads unfiltered, and would like to have the filtering app installed on the iPads before we remove the proxy setting.

I have been asked to find out if there are apps that can do this, and if so, are any of them any good, and how complicated are they to use. I'd appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks!


  • Sam Hamilton (View all users posts) 23 May 2013 9:27pm ()

    THis is a great question.  One i have been thinking about as we recently purchased some ipads and would like to use soackpuppets (but can;t due to same proxy settings).  Are you using smart net?

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 23 May 2013 9:39pm ()

    Yes, the school is using Smart Net, and that is the advice Smart has passed on. I've never heard of an app that does what they suggest.

  • Sam Hamilton (View all users posts) 23 May 2013 9:43pm ()

    just been looking this up...

    what i have found so far..


  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 23 May 2013 10:49pm ()

    AVG Family Security does a similar job I think.


    If you use something like this you would have to go into the settings and turn Safari off so chldern wouldn't have a choice of web browser.

    By turning off Safari you would loose some of the very cool features of Safari like saving websites as icons on the desktop and READER when reading web pages.

  • Ryan (View all users posts) 24 May 2013 7:55am ()

    If you are running watch dog that can solve is problem.

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 24 May 2013 7:56am ()

    Thank you Sam and Allanah. So, what is happening in most schools....? iPads go unfiltered?

    Or do most schools have some sort of sophisticated and expensive server system that can monitor that sort of thing for iPads? I'm not a tech-head I'm afraid. I just want to get on and use these tools. The school has paid for VPP licences for Sock Puppets and wants to use them. There are the same problems with sending files out of Book Creator to Dropbox - I was going to then combine separate Books made by students onto one iPad. I keep hitting these technical glitches that cause so much frustration. Grrrr.

  • Matthew Thomas (View all users posts) 24 May 2013 12:48pm ()

    Hey Carol -

    We are using WatchDog as our filtering at school, and it's not perfect, but it does provide a seamless integration of iPads.  We find images and YouTube the biggest challenges for filtering.  Of course, nothing beats explicitly teaching digital citizenship!

  • Jacalyn Tapp (View all users posts) 27 May 2013 7:33pm ()

    So can you clarify for me Matthew... If I bypass the proxy server with my iPad and have watchdog as well... That will continue to provide filtering for our iPads??? Thanks for the help... We use smarter also and have some issues with apps and emailing out from our iPadsiPads

  • Matthew Thomas (View all users posts) 27 May 2013 8:23pm ()

    Craig Chapman has now explained it better than I ever will! Thanks Craig! 

  • Craig Chapman (View all users posts) 27 May 2013 8:11pm ()

    Hi all,

    to clarify how this works...

    Internet filtering using a proxy is like catching fish in a net.  By applying rules, the naughty fish get stuck in the net and good fish are allowed through.


    Smartnet and Schoolzone use what we commonly term as a proxy server (usernames and passwords) to filter the internet. 

    The ADVANTAGE of Schoolzone and Smartnet is that different users can be given access to different types of filtering.  The holes in the net can be different sizes for different users.  So, for example, students may have youtube locked down, while if you are logged in under a teacher username you may be able to view youtube.  The DISADVANTAGE of Schoolzone / Smartnet is that new devices (not just iPads: android tablets and phones, smart tv's, apple TV, even some netbooks) don't like proxies.  Many apps (dropbox is an example) just want to use the internet... they don't want to use a username / password and go through the proxy.

    Watchdog has the opposite disadvantages and advantages.  Watchdog works by filtering all traffic in and out of the school with the same net.  The ADVANTAGE of this is that devices can play nicely without getting confused by usernames and passwords. The DISADVANTAGE (arguably) is that all users have the same level of filtering... the net is the same for everyone.

    At the end of the day the decision is what is most important: for the devices to be able to use the internet easily, or for individual users to have different levels of filtering.

    In my role (helping 20 odd primary schools with ICT), schools are going toward the former, and choosing to have devices accessing the internet easily.  Watchdog has some very clever tools for internet filtering, and seems to give the most balanced approach between safety and accessibility.  Watchdog is FREE to NZ schools, and they are really helpful with advice and setup.

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 27 May 2013 8:28pm ()

    This is a brilliant explanation - thank you SO much Craig!

  • Sylvie Vasar (View all users posts) 12 Jun 2013 8:43pm ()

    Thanks Craig,

    Very clearly explained.

  • Sylvie Vasar (View all users posts) 12 Jun 2013 8:44pm ()

    Thanks Craig,

    Very clearly explained.

  • Nix (View all users posts) 16 Jun 2014 1:24pm ()

    I was wondering if anyone knows a way around 'smart net' /schoolzone proxy server with android tablets? we've managed to set up ipads to bypass the proxy but cant seem to do the same with samsung tablets.  If anyone has any insight it would be greatly appreciated

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 16 Jun 2014 2:17pm ()

    There is an Android group on the VLN. You may like to ask tat question there.

    Here is the link to it.


  • Shona Poppe (View all users posts) 12 Jun 2013 5:12pm ()

    With regard to : (There are the same problems with sending files out of Book Creator to Dropbox)

    I use my Google Drive and it works just fine and we have authenticated proxies. 

  • Melissa Grant (View all users posts) 17 Jun 2013 7:51pm ()

    In most the schools I work with the iPads are on a separate wireless network to the school laptops which goes straight out to the Internet with no filtering. This avoids any issues with downloading apps and browsing safari and it also stops the frustration for teachers giving them the anywhere, anytime pedagogy. Because these devices don't have the tight filtering it makes the teaching of digital citizenship crucial. No filtering is 100% and it is important that we teach the children the realities of technology so they are best served to make the right decisions in their life. 

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 17 Jun 2013 9:14pm ()

    That's great to know, thank you Melissa.

    Tell me, the fact that the iPads are usually on a separate wifi network to the laptops - does that cause issues when trying to use software like the Reflector app or Apple TV to airplay iPad screens? I thought they had to be on the same wifi network. Just wondering about possible complications of having the separate wifi network.

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