Nothing’s Wrong With Web Filters

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Nothing’s Wrong With Web Filters

Linda Qiu, Staff Writer

I didn’t notice the web filters implemented on Chromebooks until I was a freshman, despite having used them in middle school. I know for sure that I felt panicked when I tried to access Facebook and was hit by a red and gray screen reading: Page Blocked – Access to the requested site has been restricted due to its content. At first, my inability to access certain sites or search for certain terms irritated me. Some of my teachers used social media sites to interact with students and create class announcements, but we had to access them with our phones or our own laptops because we couldn’t get to them using the chromebooks. Also, when I was researching for biology or English, search terms including any words with possible negative connotations were blocked. Examples include “sex chromosomes,” “gang violence and hip hop.” And for some reason incomprehensible to me, the ability to reverse Google search images was blocked. At some point, however, I found the web filters mildly inconvenient but slightly amusing, such as when I couldn’t google “Olympic games” because it contained the word “games,” or when I couldn’t access a forum because it contained “prohibited Friendship content.” 

The usage of web filters by schools is a common complaint of students, who say that they are too restrictive and flawed. However, they are a necessity for a multitude of reasons. For one, it reassures parents that their children are unable to access inappropriate content. From personal experience I’ve seen a lot of people using Chromebooks for online games; while I don’t judge, it is a school policy that Chromebooks be used for educational purposes only. So, it’s reasonable that school administrators take steps to enforce this. Web filtering is also a method of preventing exposure of children to possible predators online. Implementing web filters is also a legal necessity. Some states require publicly funded institutions to install filtering software on their terminals and computers. With web filtering in place, schools might be freed from liability. Schools without internet filtering policies are more vulnerable to lawsuits regarding online activity. 

So the next time you can’t get on coolmathgames.com or look up the history of gangs in Los Angeles, remember that our school’s just doing its job.

 

Graphic courtesy of LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM