Students should be trusted over software

Grace Palmer, Opinions Editor

The number of sites that we, as students, are denied access to at school is, frankly, ridiculous and counterproductive. With criteria that block out “prohibited forum content,” for example, the overzealous filters mean that a lot of useful information is unavailable. We can’t view parts of major news websites websites, among much else.

I understand blocking obscene content and even outright time wasters, like facebook and flash games. However I don’t think the current system is effective. Rather than helping our education by keeping us on task, I think it makes learning through research more difficult. It’s also not true to the real world – things will be different when we are working, in college, or even as soon as we get home at the end of the day.

No matter what is blocked, students will find ways to waste time and distract themselves from what they should be doing. I would say it’s one of the things that we do best. It shouldn’t be the job of a blocking software to systematically censor what we can see. It is our job as students to use our job responsibly and effectively. It’s our teachers’ job to supervise as much as possible.

The blocking software has flaws – personally, I think my in class presentation on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a little lacking since I couldn’t see all of the United Nation’s website. It also has a history of blocking LGBTQ+ content, even in informational articles. It doesn’t even really work for what it’s supposed to – students still find places to play games and be otherwise off task. Blocking things so broadly just doesn’t seem workable.

Instead, our school should consider putting trust in students and teachers. Computers are an increasingly huge part of our lives, and we have access to them almost all the time. If anything, learning to focus anyway is an important element of our education in and of itself. In college classes, the successful students are the ones who know when to play tetris and when they really should be paying attention. Let’s face it, there will always be tetris.