Frequently asked questions

Read below for some commonly asked questions. If you’ve followed the steps in our Instruction Guide but are still having trouble, click here for some troubleshooting help.

How do I do it?

Just download the simple instructions for your specific device, which you can find here.

How does it keep my child safe? What gets blocked?

Once the DNS settings have been changed, your device won’t have access to certain sites that are deemed unsafe or inappropriate for learning. This includes a range of gambling and adult sites, plus sites known to host malware and phishing scams. You can find the full list of blocked categories here.

Does it block social media?


Is it up to date?

The Switch on Safety filter is a dynamic service managed by our provider Akamai, a world leader in this area, and frequently updated based on the most recent online threats.

What if I need help?

You can download clear instructions for your device here. Please make sure you are entering the numbers correctly when changing the DNS. If you’re still stuck, please email [email protected] with your name and the type of device your child is using. To avoid long phone queues and make sure every family gets helped quickly, email is preferred to our 0800 number. Thank you for understanding.

What do you need to do?

To keep your children safe online, we recommend changing the “DNS” setting on their device. Once this has been changed, every website they try to visit will be checked by a “DNS server” first, which acts like a safety net. This “DNS server” makes sure websites are safe before allowing access. The technology we are using to do this is provided by a global cyber security company. It’s one of the many ways N4L helps protect students from online threats and inappropriate content.

What if I don’t use it?

Your children may be exposed to unsafe and inappropriate websites. This safety filter is one of the ways we keep the internet safe for learning at school. At school, we also use firewall and filtering services; however changing the DNS settings on your child’s device will still add a valuable layer of protection against the worst of the web that will benefit our children.

What if I have internet safety at home?

If you already have a service, you may or may not wish to add this safety filter.  

I have anti-virus software - is this something different? Do I need both?

Yes these are different, and we recommend you have both. The DNS filtering service we are using will give children an extra layer of protection. When you switch on our safety filter, not only are you filtering web content, you’re applying SafeSearch browsing.

What’s a “DNS” setting?

The DNS setting on your device checks the “DNS server” for the address of the website you are trying to visit. It operates like a phonebook when you look up someone’s name for their contact number. Normally, your device’s DNS settings are set to “automatic”. By changing your device’s DNS settings, all websites will go through a safety filter first. “DNS” stands for Domain Name System.

What’s a DNS server?

DNS stands for Domain Name System, and acts like a conversion service translating easy to remember website names (e.g. into computer speak (e.g. Your device’s DNS settings are normally set to “automatic”, meaning that the computer will generally just do what it’s asked (unfiltered). By changing your child’s DNS setting to our service, you’ll be putting their internet searches (traffic) through a safety filter that instantly checks whether it’s safe for your child to view.

Why are the instructions different?

Each operating system has a slightly different way of doing things. So we’ve outlined clear instructions for Chromebooks, Apple iPads, Macbooks and PCs running Windows 10, 8 and 7.

Can I remove the DNS settings and how do I do it?

Yes, the DNS settings can be removed by following the installation instructions in reverse. We suggest parents check regularly to confirm if the filter is still in place.


    • For Chromebook
      Select “Automatic name servers” and then the “X” in the top right hand corner to reverse the safety filter.
    • For iPad
      Select “Automatic” and then “Save” to reverse the safety filter.
    • For Windows 7/8
      Select “Obtain DNS server address automatically” and then click “OK” to reverse the safety filter.
    • For Windows 10
      Select “Obtain DNS server address automatically” and then click “OK” to reverse the safety filter. 
    • For Macbook
      Select the DNS address added and click the minus sign “-”. Repeat for both DNS addresses added. Then click “OK” to reverse the safety filter.  
    • For Android
      Hold down on “Wifi network” for 3 seconds. Select “Modify network”. Select “Show advanced settings”. Click on “IP settings” and select “DHCP”.
What else can I do to keep my child safe at home?
Google and Microsoft have additional tools available to protect students using Chromebook and Windows devices. Google Family Link and Microsoft Family Safety allow parents to monitor and manage their child’s online activity while learning from home.
For further information on Google Family Link click here, or click here for Microsoft Family Safety.

For further self help and troubleshooting tips take a look here.