A lost connection


Ninth grader Tyler Jackson uses his smart phone to seek out information on New Zealand during world geography at Princeton High School in Princeton, Texas, on April 27, 2012. The school has launged a program allowing students to take video and audio recordings of classes. (Used with limited license: Kye R. Lee/Dallas Morning News/MCT)

Colleen Quinn, Author

In a class on the first floor, a student wants to download a study application recommended by a teacher. However, the Application Store was blocked. In the library, a student sits at one of the computers. The student then pulls out books and packets and places them on a table. The research begins. While attempting to find a quick answer for a health project, the student discovers the link is blocked. After numerous declined searches, it is soon discovered that it won’t be possible to finish the project at school.    

One of the largest conflicts that the student body has had to deal with for the past couple of years is using the wifi and internet in the new building. Not only are students and staff unable to use social media apps, but are restricted from using other websites. This can cause a conflict with accomplishing research for specific courses. Why are we denied access to some if not most of the internet when connected to the school wifi?

Many students complain about the loss of connection, but some may not fully understand why restrictions are enforced in the first place. The first answer is pretty obvious: to keep the student body focused on their schoolwork throughout the day. However, what many students may not know is the laws that are involved with using the internet on school grounds.The Child Internet Protection Act enforces schools to have web blocks or filters on pictures and content that may be inappropriate for minors.

Disconnecting teenagers from social media for nearly eight hours is quite the accomplishment, but also unnecessary. Students need to be able to be able to utilize the internet at school. Students should be able to research certain topics without iPrism denying them. Yes, access is given to a majority of academic based websites, but the blocking seems to be a lot more strict than it needs to be.  

Being productive is key in high school, which is encouraged by optional courses such as study hall. While these class periods allow students time to catch up on academic work, upon completion they find themselves staring at walls. There is no point in sitting in study hall with nothing to do. A large number of students find themselves in this situation on a daily basis. Students, in these situations, are more concerned with being able to use popular applications like Snapchat and Instagram than to use their devices to do academic research.

The reason for the restrictions of the internet are very justifiable. These laws are for the safety of the student body. It is important for the internet to be blocked or filtered on a school campus to ensure that is not be used in an inappropriate way. However, there is no plausible reason for applications, such as Pandora, to be blocked. It is not a crime to listen to internet radio, so students should have free reign to tune in when given consent by their teachers.