Internet filters: Are they hindering us more than protecting us?

Alyssa Potter

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Imagine your English teacher just assigned a research paper. For your history class, the next assignment is to research weapons used in World War I. Even in your science class, projects requiring Internet information and images are assigned. There’s only one problem: internet filters. They block websites that are considered to be inappropriate, but why are some of these websites deemed as such? These internet filters that are supposedly protecting us but are, in some cases, hindering our education.

There is so much that the Internet does to assist our education. It allows information to be found quickly and accurately, provides a cost-efficient way of learning, makes educational materials extremely accessible, and even assists in saving the environment by lessening the amount of paper used. In order to learn all that is possible and use all the Internet’s resources to its full capacity, it is agreed upon that the Internet is necessary. While, it is agreed upon that the Internet is a necessary piece in a well-rounded education, are the filters? Especially to this caliber?

Just the other day I was doing research for a research paper in my English class. I was looking up information on Affirmative Action and came across the National Public Radio (NPR) website. It is a legitimate website and I knew it would have strong information. Just after I clicked on it, I got hit with the This domain is blocked in big, black, bold letters. It was incredibly frustrating to know that I would not be able to access this website at school and to not know why. I, and probably many other students, would like to know what is it that considers this and many other websites inappropriate. Instead, I had to settle for another, less credible website.Why are websites such as these viewed as unsuitable and who considers them as such? Many websites similar to these are not even able to be viewed at home.

On another day I saw a student looking up hunting riffles in one of my classes. So it’s okay to visit weapon websites for hunting, but not the NPR for a paper on affirmative action? How is the dangerous hunting website left unblocked, yet the more educational site is? Once again, what are the qualifications that consider a website ill-suited for school?

Granted, some websites must be blocked to protect students, but many of the websites that are blocked are not inappropriate at all and hurt students more than help them by being blocked. Many students want answers about these Internet filters.

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Internet filters: Are they hindering us more than protecting us?