What Is the Objective of Internet Censorship in Public Schools?

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Shawn Nephi Klaxx

What is the objective of internet censorship in public schools? Is it effective and does it do more good than bad? When talking about internet censorship in schools, heated debates are always bound to arise on what they should block, how strict they should be, and if they should even be there. The topic of fettered or unfettered internet is a hot topic and can be both good and bad for education. When talking about something that sounds like such a small topic it is important to remember that everyday our lives and the internet are becoming more and more intertwined. Now phones and computers are almost always linked to the internet. In this ever evolving world that is becoming more and more technology reliant it is important to teach youth the importance of internet safety. Not just what sites to visit, but also how to do thing securely on the internet and how to make the internet secure when it is not already. In society today most hold the view that the best way to teach youth how to stay safe on the internet is by blocking them from certain websites. This is done by using a proxy that detects keywords and when a keyword trips the server it blocks the website. “Too often filters are blunt instruments, cutting off access to ideas just because a word or two are regarded as so loaded that they trigger automated censorship.” (Paulson, Ken. First Amendment Center) “Entire categories of Web sites had been blocked, including those that involved games, violence, weapons, even swimsuits, said Judy Gressel, a librarian. “It just got to the point that it became hard to conduct research,” she said, adding that students could not read sites about, say, military weapons for a history paper.”(Hu, Winnie, “A Call for Opening Up Web Access at Schools, for Learning’s Sake”)When doing research for school projects it makes it hard to find good research if whenever you search for something it gets blocked just because somewhere on the page it says gun, blood, or another word that has tripped the filter. “Our job is to teach students the safe use of the internet. And its hard to do that if we can’t get to the sites.” (Deven Black) When in school it is important to learn more than math, science, history and English. It is also important to learn life skills. Safe internet use is a life skill that will be used when students graduate and they no longer have the forceful filters placed upon their internet access. By teaching them now how to respect the internet students learn the difference between good and bad media. “Students today grow up faster and are exposed to much more media(good and bad)than any generation before.” (Paulson,Ken. First Amendment Center) The number one source for information is no longer Channel 5 or the newspaper. It is now the World Wide Web (WWW). With the technology we have today being able to have news just hours after the event instead of one or two days, the demand for online blogs and news resources has boomed. Being able to decipher what is legitimate and what is not is the most important thing. Humans strive off of information. It has been a natural desire that every human being has been born with. “Students must develop skills to evaluate information from all types of sources in multiple formats, including the Internet. Relying solely on filters does not teach young citizens how to be savvy searchers or how to evaluate the accuracy of the information.”(Dileonardo, Diana ‘The Debate on Internet Censorship in Public Schools) When going to gather safe information it is important to know not only what websites are safe and what sites can be harmful, but also what material is truthful and accurate so you are not misinformed. When using Internet filters students do not have the chance to visit sites that are ‘Fake’ and hold false data, or sites that can even be harmful to a computer. Therefore they don’t get the understanding of what is...
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