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Dan Dunkin is a professional writer and devoted father to 2 teenagers. Dan has a 30 year newspaper career winning numerous awards covering sports and related topics.
Aug 25, 2016
A school’s most important job, along with educating your kids, is protecting them while they are there. This is why many schools filter their internet content, blocking certain websites-shielding students from harmful content.
According to a survey by the American Association of school Librarians, ninety-eight percent of the nation’s schools filter the online content that’s available to students. For most schools, it’s a moral imperative, but then again it’s also for monetary reasons. The federal government’s E-rate program provides discounts for schools and libraries by purchasing certain communication services and products. As a condition for this federal funding, the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), passed by Congress in 2000, requires that K-12 schools and libraries in the U.S. use Internet filters and implement other measures to protect children from harmful online content.
Teachers are not always around in the computer labs or study halls to police online safety. Using school internet filtering to block inappropriate websites provides a level of consistent online security that is not only nice to have, it’s a necessity.
There are many debates about schools being too restrictive with online boundaries and limiting students’ access to research. But those criticisms are outweighed by the greater good of protecting them from harmful images and content. Without filtering, for example, simple Google searches by students researching a subject can turn to obscene images in the thumbnail results…that’s not what we want our kids seeing in the classroom.
At the same time, schools need to teach kids how to use the internet responsibly, and work with parents to plant seeds for kids to learn to be safe online as they become more independent. As they learn which websites to visit and which to avoid, the importance of awareness becomes a key factor, learned through school and at home.
It only follows logically that: website blocking should be just as vigilant at home. Ideally throughout a child’s development, the school and parents work hand-in-hand to keep children safe.
“Is it really necessary?” you might ask. Take a minute to think about the vast sea of internet content today-would you want your kids to see everything and anything that’s available at such a young age?
Websites that are off-limits at school should be out of bounds at home. In fact, the real teaching about online safety and discipline for your kids should probably start at home, with school rules reinforcing the importance of it. Digital family contracts and parental control software, like
Net Nanny, makes it easy for parents to enforce house rules for internet use. Since the software is downloaded onto each device, your rules can travel whenever and wherever they are using the device.