Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Web Proxy

We have all heard the terms “Web Proxy” but is there true understanding of what those words really mean? To understand this process, let’s first answer a few questions.

What is a proxy server?
A proxy server is a computer that offers a network service which serves as a middle-man in allowing a person/computer to connect to a website indirectly.

How does a web proxy work?
You are essentially allowed to anonymously browse websites. For example, if you try to connect to on your computer and it is blocked/filtered within your internet access, you would connect to a proxy server web address and the proxy server web address would then connect to that site for you…. Literally, your computer connects to the proxy service on another computer and that computer then connects to the site you want to visit – and allows you to view it.

Why should a web proxy be a concern in the classroom?
There are many, many sites that students would love to visit and interact with during school hours. These developed web proxy sites allow students to temporarily side-step filtering processes in place that are set up to ensure and encourage their safety online.

How can educators and parents work together to solve this problem?
Continue to give students instructions on what is and what is not appropriate to visit online. Filters are already in place within schools, but new web proxy sites are developed all the time! Teachers must monitor what their students are viewing online. And, equally, parents must monitor their children online at home, as well.

Rest assured that ever-increasing technologies allow these web proxy sites to become filtered. So, even though students may have found a temporary solution to visit their favorite sites – those proxy sites soon get caught in school filtering systems and the students will be unable to visit those sites. District technology departments are always on the lookout to catch new web proxy sites and put them in their place - on the filter list!

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