Are School Web Filters Too Restricting?

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Are School Web Filters Too Restricting?

Evelyn Peyovich, Journalist

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Most kids at Blaine know the feeling – you search up something, and sometimes, even if it is completely innocent, the district site pops up and says “website restricted”. No kid enjoys this, as some websites that mean no harm are blocked. School filters are for the good of children, to keep them on task and safe from the darkness of the web. But, are they just too strict?

Well, as lots of students have a personal device or laptop, these filters don’t always do what is intended. People can access websites that the district restricts on their own time, so what is it doing other than keeping us on task during school? Well, either way, kids will find a way to be off task, whether or not the school computers won’t let them. So should these filters be removed?

The National Center for Education Statistics says, “In 2001, almost all public schools with Internet access (96 percent) used various technologies or procedures to control student access to inappropriate material on the Internet” (Technologies and Procedures to Prevent Student Access to Inappropriate Material on the Internet). Since 2001, the internet has expanded and expanded, new software was created, and, along with that, came more harmful ads, posts, and articles spreading fake information and things about harmful topics.

In some cases, websites used for school purposes are restricted as well. Once, while finding a comment for an article, I found that the site was restricted. This is problematic, as it forces students to use their phones or personal devices to search this thing up. I believe that the school should be more specific in choosing exactly what they are restricting. If the school doesn’t look through each site they block, what is the point of having the system at all?

The funny thing about the system is that sometimes, it just… doesn’t work! It doesn’t restrict sites that were restricted a few days, hours, even minutes ago! This restriction system is far from perfect, but should we finalize the system if it is not doing anything?

All in all, the web filters on school computers have both pros and cons, including the fact that it can keep kids off task, but they still have access to anything on their own devices. It depends on what position you are in as to how you see the issue, but personally, I believe that the school should be more meticulous about what they are restricting.