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Franklin County Schools meet Friendly Wi-Fi accreditation standards

In local schools, ensuring safe Internet access – and access of only appropriate content – is paramount. Thanks to efforts by Franklin County Schools network administrator Tim Burks, Franklin County’s commitment to safe Internet usage now falls under accreditation with a cutting edge, international program, and it is the first school system in the U.S. to achieve the designation.

As of May 11, Franklin County Schools are licensed to use and display the Friendly Wi-Fi logo (www.friendlywifi.com), an initiative originating across the pond in the United Kingdom.

According to Mike Davies with Friendly Wi-Fi, the Friendly Wi-Fi symbol was launched in collaboration with The UK Council for Child Internet Safety, initiated by UK government and Wi-Fi providers, after concerns were raised by leading child safety charities that children and young people were being put at risk of viewing and accessing inappropriate material when using public Wi-Fi.

“The Friendly Wi-Fi symbol is designed to help children, young people and adults (by offering) the option to use a ‘Friendly Wi-Fi’ venue to ensure that the public Wi-Fi that they are accessing is filtered,” explains the website. “It can be confusing for young people and children to understand what symbols mean, hence why the accreditation service has been launched to create one symbol which is easily recognized and gives the confidence that the Wi-Fi is filtered and independently accredited.”

For Burks, the safety of FCS’ Internet access and usage is a point of pride. He said he felt being associated with the Friendly Wi-Fi designation was something of a feather in the cap of the school system. Friendly reached out to him about qualifying for the accreditation because the school system is currently using tech devices that meet accreditation standards.

“Our network is protected with one of the most secure next generation firewalls available today,” he said. “I feel Franklin County is making great strides in moving forward with technology for such a rural, high-poverty and limitedly-funded system.”

All Franklin County schools are now listed on the Friednly Wi-Fi search locator – beneficial, for instance, to visitors to the area who want to verify where they can find a secure network.

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