Finding Distracting Websites using School Manager’s Advanced Search

This article is for IT support and reporting staff.

School Manager’s Advanced Search tool streamlines your forensic research and reporting. It allows you to delve deep into the data that School Manager captures. With it you will be able to find what’s really going on at your school.

Finding a Distracting Website

In this example, a teacher informs you that students are getting distracted by a website during school time, but they kept closing the tab before the teacher could capture the url. Starting with the class date and time, you can use Advanced Search to uncover the website(s) distracting the students, along with which students are accessing the site and how often. 

You can share the results of your investigation with the teacher or wellbeing staff. You can also use what you’ve discovered to determine whether you need to adjust your filtering rules.

  1. Go to Reports > Advanced Search.
  2. Select From Date.

    To change the start date, click on the current start date and then on the new date that you want to select.  To change the end date, click on the end date and then on the new date that you want to select.
    You are limited to selecting a maximum of three months due to the volume of data that needs to be processed. If the Advanced Search displays an error message, select a shorter date range.

  3. Hold and drag the start Hour of Day. Repeat for the end Hour of Day.
    Set the time to include the time of the peculiar activity reported by the teacher.

  4. Select Load 

  5. You may decide several of the Websites  in the Search Results are common and safe for your users. You will want to exclude these normal website connections so you can easily see unusual websites..

  6. To reduce the number of results, hide the allowed Websites from your search. Hiding unneeded data helps you focus on suspicious activities. 

    Select Website > doesn’t contain. Type a domain name you don’t need to see in the results.

  7. More than one website can be added.

  8. Select Update.

  9. Select the column title to sort the results relevant to your investigation. As needed, select the column title again to reverse the sort.

    For example, sort by Date and Time to see results around the time of the suspicious activity. Sort by Website to see repetitions of unusual domains. Sort by Username to see if other potentially distracting websites were accessed by the same users.

You can download your Search Results or schedule your Search Results to be sent by email or saved.

While there is no exact formula to finding distracting sites, you can find important details by looking through the Search Results.

Finding Out Who’s Accessing a Specific Site

Continuing this example, you can create a  new search to discover if other students were accessing the distracting website(s) during the class period.

  1. Select the Dashboard actions > Reset filters.
  2. Select Website > Contains. Type the unique part of the domain name. If the domain name is a common word, such as “game”, use the full web address.
  3. You can search for multiple websites at once by typing a comma after each additional domain name.
  4. Select Update.
You can download your Search Results or schedule your Search Results to be sent by email or saved.

As necessary, refine your search, until you see the pattern of websites, times, and users. If you think the distracting websites are a problem, add a filtering rule to block the domains in question. You can also share these Search Results with the teacher and the wellbeing staff to help them guide the students to more productive online activity.


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