TCS Web Filters Restrict Student Research

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Discoverer Staff Photo

Juan David Cubides

Sebastián Uribe, Discoverer Staff Writer

The internet and social media provide many students with a range of benefits, and opportunities to learn more information, rather than only academic websites. The use of social media and networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Netflix would let students and teachers get an additional amount of class materials. In recent years TCS has included a series of new web filters that enables both students and teachers to use social media, movie streaming and possible game educational websites. The head of administration in TCS should stop the excessive blocking of possible educational websites that can be related to school and learning, so students can be able to use wisely social networking tools and other websites.

The overly blocking of possible educational websites has brought many problems to both students and teachers all around the world. Blocking websites of educational value bring problems to both students and teachers.

The New York Times did a survey in 2011 about school web filters, in 2016 they showed the results of 5,000 responses of both students and teachers responses. Many comments used the words as absurd”, “ridiculous”, “stupid”, “suffocating” and “creepy”. Students argued that many social media networks could help in some of their classes by being able to show an interview, interpret what someone said, show a picture and many more. Not only students that did the survey of the NYT think that way, but also most TCS students believe that they are missing out of so much information that social media might bring them. Among teachers, many agree that the use of a movie clip can be an example of the topic they are seeing but are limited to use other alternatives due to the web filters. Students and teachers in TCS are frustrated daily when they discover useful educational websites or in class materials that are blocked by the filtering software installed in the school’s wifi.

The school´s web filters do not only block thousands of pages, but it also makes the wifi slower. With the TCS internet filters, it creates a malware and slow internet connection due to the high amounts of pages that are blocked and the great number of people that are connected. This keeps students with limited digital access, slow wifi,  and the absence of much useful information“I was trying to search some tweets made by Trump for one of my classes,  but couldn’t access them because of the web filters, so I had extra homework,” Juan Felipe Gaviria, 11th Grade STUCO, said.

Many schools in the U.S and Colombia have web filters. All schools in the U.S has to follow the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), and it says all the rules schools web filters should have. The Act says schools should only block websites that have obscene, child pornography, and scamming content. The CIPA never said anything that schools should block all types of social media, movie streaming, or games that makes the student think outside their box. The only benefits of the web filters students are able to keep their virtual identity safe, and it can prevent information to be stolen from compromised websites. Some teachers may agree that with the school filters students are not going to get distracted from social media during class and enhance their research.

TCS head staff of administration should reconsider changing the web filters and allow students to use freely the internet with only the restrictions suggested by the CIPA. By changing the web filters, students and teachers will act more independently, have an extensive amount of research, and there will less problems regarding blocked sites.

Works Cited

Schulten, Katherine. “Are the Web Filters at Your School Too Restrictive?” The New York Times. 2016. 20 Jan. 2019.

TitanHQ. “Internet Filtering for Schools.” WebTitan, www.webtitan.com/internet-filtering-for-schools/.

“Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).” Federal Communications Commission, 12 Sept. 2018, www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/childrens-internet-protection-act.