Deledao & Souhegan’s Updated Network Firewall: Helpful or Hurtful?

What is “Deledao”, how does it work, and is it really beneficial for Souhegan students?


         Towards the beginning of the school year, almost every Souhegan student got a pop-up on their school laptop prompting the installation of a program called “Deledao”. Although many were confused about the software’s purpose, the only option was to click “Install”. Deledao’s website claims that it can “effectively detect games on Google Sites or manage YouTube” and that “only Deledao can keep students productive and learning by removing these distractions from their internet experience”. With the installation of the software—in addition to the updates to Souhegan’s network firewall—came a more strict crackdown on the websites students are allowed to access on school-provided laptops. As annoyance with the new filtering program started to spread among the student body, writers at The Claw decided to research what exactly “Deledao ” is, why it was implemented, and seek out opinions on whether or not the program and the updated network firewall are fair.

Deledao | Protect kids online with a real-time AI web filter

According to Christina DeCesare, Souhegan’s Technology Support and Integration Specialist, Deledao is a web filter that works through a proxy installed by the school system on each laptop. “[The software] scans the users’ network traffic for inappropriate content attempting to be accessed or that could be displayed unintentionally. When this content is discovered, the proxy prevents the user from being able to view or access it.” The new filtering system was adopted to replace Lightspeed, which reportedly had numerous complications and a use contract that ended. 

So why are more and more students upset? Many websites that were previously left untouched by Lightspeed have now been blocked by Deledao, and the school’s network firewall. In addition to the original social media filters, music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music and communication platforms like Discord have been blocked. Most VPN software, which previously allowed users to bypass the filters (although some still remain effective) is now also prohibited while devices are on the school network. Furthermore, students have reported that anything containing the keyword “game” has been automatically filtered by Deledao; YouTube video titles and content included. Others say the software bars access to potentially valuable research sources, with one Souhegan student reporting that the resources she intended to use for her senior project were filtered by the program.

Additionally, there have been instances where Deledao was installed on personal and home computers due to students linking their school credentials with their own devices. One victim of these unfortunate circumstances, Souhegan senior Miles Lim, stated that he synced his school account with a home computer and ended up inadvertently installing the program. “When I tried playing a game on Steam, it would say I needed to send an unblock request to get rid of [the filter].” Deledao became so deeply embedded in his computer that he ended up having to perform a factory reset. However, the school’s tech team has addressed and solved issues regarding the software making its way to personal devices. “Deledao is not being installed on personal home computers intentionally,” says Christina DeCesare. “After identifying that this was a feature available to students, we disabled that feature. If a student finds that it has been installed on a personal device, they should bring that device to tech support.”

Deledao blocked SHS senior Miles Lim from playing Rainbow Six Siege on his personal computer.

Lastly, writers at The Claw consulted John Ranta, Souhegan’s resident tech wizard, to see what his thoughts were. Although he has no experience with the software firsthand (it is not used to filter staff), Ranta says that “…there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to configure Deledao to allow legitimate sites, which is an important missing feature…The goal for any filter would be to filter the bad stuff, but not the good stuff, and to be easily managed to differentiate between the two.” He went on further to talk about the overly-negative complaints he’s received from his students, how the software subscription may impact taxpayers, and how there may be ways to improve Deledao’s algorithm. “It’s early days yet, [but] I think our tech support people are just getting used to Deledao. Maybe it will be better as we are able to tune it.” There is no doubt that there are mixed opinions on Souhegan’s new filtering software this year, and ultimately it’s up for students to decide for themselves whether they think these tools will help or hurt their learning experience.