Reasonable Restrictions And Virtual Imprisonment

Why are so many websites blocked on the schools internet

Cooper Delestrez, Journalist

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Many students have had problems with the schools WiFi in the past and still have some today. One of the reasons why might be because of how many websites are restricted, however, there is a very important reason to why this is.

In an interview with Tracy Dabbs, Coordinator of Technology and Innovation in the Burlington-Edison school district, Dabbs stated “We are required to block some sites from students or we will not receive federal funding.” Sites that they are required to block would be any site that exhibit adult or violent content.

That would imply it’s either blocked websites or no school internet at all. That would be because the school would not have enough funding to support an entire server for all of the students in the school district.

Dabbs also stated “We also block sites such as social media, gaming and sites that endorse illegal behaviors like downloading music or videos that have copyrights..

This is very understandable because some social media sites can give certain viruses or malware, they can also distract a student from getting their work done, or can be used for cheating on a test and some social media sites can even have adult content on them.

The gaming sites, sadly, can also give viruses and malware (basically any site can). They can also distract multiple students at once and, since it’s gaming, take up a lot more of the network that most sites, same goes with social media.

Blocking sites that endorse illegal behaviors is on the line between understandable and irrational. It’s understandable because it’s, well, illegal; However, some students might need a certain song that they personally don’t own and can’t afford for some sort of project like a slideshow.

Some students are okay with having websites blocked because it doesn’t really affect them while doing their school work.

In an interview with Bryce Robinson ‘21, he states that he feels as though there should be some websites that should be blocked but there are others that aren’t as bad. When asked he stated that he can’t think of a website that he would want unblocked. He even stated “The blocked websites tend to help keep people in general stay more focused on school work or at least limit what they can do,”.

This whole thing is a win-win-win situation. Students get to have free access to the internet at school, the school gets federal funding, and it provides jobs for those who are in charge of the internet stuff.

Most of this may seem positive, but it can also be very annoying. When doing school work for certain classes that you need to look at a news article that a teacher links to, it might be blocked. This can make planning for an assignment harder for teachers because they might not know which websites are blocked and which ones aren’t.

Going back to the positive and the interview with Tracy Dabbs, she states “…Teachers cannot block sites, they can only request to have sites blocked, but they cannot do this on her own,”. “We want students to experience and have access to as many sites as possible,”.

This is an amazing thing because if any teacher could block a website, then 75% of the websites would be blocked because every teacher has their own opinion on what should be blocked and what shouldn’t be, so having this set up actually allows students to have access to more websites than if teachers were the ones who blocked them.

With all the positives, this setup is still imperfect due to the use of software and hardware that automatically blocks websites. These can block certain websites that don’t need to be blocked.

All in all, having websites being blocked is a very good thing because it allows the school to have funding for students to have free access to the internet at school.