The Argument for Schools Blocking Websites

Jul 29, 2016

school

Years ago, we did not ever think about having a debate on websites that should be allowed in a classroom. We were more concerned with what books should be approved for students to read. Today, school Internet filtering has been an on-going issue, specifically between school administration, faculty and concerned parents.

According to Ed Tech Research, one third of US Students use school issued mobile devices. Project Tomorrow reports that even a greater number have access to devices:

  • 89% of high school students and 73 % of middle school students have access to smart phones
  • 66% of middle and high school students have access to laptops and/or tablets
  • 48% of middle schoolers and 39 % of high schoolers have access to digital readers

These numbers will continue to increase throughout the years and eventually all schools will go paperless and utilize technology in the classroom full time.

Safety is the number one priority in our school system. Is our child safe during the school day? There are many dangers in social media world that we want to protect our children from. Do we want our children exposed to mature material? Do we want our children corresponding with strangers online? Are we ensuring that our child’s privacy is protected? These are valid concerns that school administrators must take in account when deciding to allow students to access the world wide web.

Another issue to consider is, can we guarantee that the students will make “right ethical choices” on social media? Many adolescents today are engaging in inappropriate and illegal behaviors on social media. Some of these acts include: sending nudes (sexting) online, hacking into networks, stealing passwords, creating fake accounts, and much more. Many of these behaviors can lead to school suspensions, expulsions and even criminal charges. Schools today are spending countless hours dealing with these social media issues instead of focusing time and energy on academics and school priorities.

Who should be held accountable? The student who accesses websites that are banned from school orthe school for not having adequate security? Depending who you ask, this could be another debate (one that could land a parent or school in court).

The entire school population will be using technology in the years ahead. We need to put more efforts into education and teaching responsible digital citizens amongst the student body. Educating the computer user on the dangers, pros and cons of social media, threats, and other issues may be a positive first step solution. Schools must also have policies in place, specifically geared at addressing Social Media Policies, Internet/Technology Usage Policies and Cyber Bullying Policies. If the policies are specific, outlining what websites and behaviors will and will not be tolerated, schools can stand behind their disciplinary practices. Parents need to be encouraged to be educated just as much as the students. Offering monitoring solutions for families to use at home in addition to school that have remote access and alerts, like Net Nanny®, is another tactic that schools can encourage too! Keeping students safe will always be the priority in the educational system.