Safeguarding devices

Information on content filtering and mobile device management to ensure devices are safe to use by young people and families.

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Local authorities, academy trusts, schools, colleges and further education institutions all have a responsibility to keep children and young people safe online.

This applies where laptops and tablets are provided through the Department for Education (DfE) Get help with technology programme, as well as any new or refurbished devices received through donations.

Devices ordered from October 2021 onwards

Laptops and tablets ordered from October 2021 onwards are delivered with factory settings and do not have any DfE-managed software installed. Owners of devices are responsible for ensuring appropriate content filters and device management systems are in place.

Devices ordered before October 2021

For devices delivered before October 2021, organisations could choose between standard devices, or devices with pre-installed safeguarding software. These came with:

  • Cisco Umbrella – content filtering software that blocks a range of illegal and inappropriate content and limits searching to the ‘Safe Search’ provided by popular search engines
  • Microsoft Intune – device management software that prevents users from installing unauthorised software or making changes to files and settings

Licences for this software were due to expire on 30 September 2021, but to ensure they remain safe for children and young people to use, we extended licences until 30 September 2022.

You’re still required to take control of the devices as soon as possible by restoring them to factory settings and applying your own remote management solution. Read our guidance on how to apply your own settings to devices to see the actions required to ensure those who received them can continue to use them safely.

Safeguarding and security settings for pre-owned or donated devices

New and refurbished laptops and tablets that have been purchased or donated can help supplement the allocation of laptops and tablets from DfE.

If you receive devices for your school or college through donations, you’re responsible for ensuring they’re prepared so they’re appropriate for use.

Information we’ve produced on content filtering, privacy policies and mobile device management is also relevant to any new and pre-owned devices. We recommend you follow our guidance on preparing a Windows device, Chromebook or iPad before lending a device to a child or young person.

The following information will help you make decisions on how to set up and manage these devices.

Advice for parents and carers

If you’re worried that your child is accessing harmful content on any device, you can find support and advice at GOV.UK.

If your child is worried or needs support, they can call Childline (0800 1111) or download their ‘For Me’ app.

If your child has a social worker, you should contact your local authority if you have any concerns about your child’s safety or wellbeing.