Thursday, September 22, 2011

Myths about Internet filters

I found this article on Twitter the other day talking about Internet filters and blocked websites.  I wish I could give this article to some of the tech people in our district.  As librarians we have to deal with blocked sites all the time but don't have any power to unblock or do anything about the problem.  I understand the idea of protecting our kids, but as much time as I spend busting kids for using proxy servers, I think it's a moot point. 

I get tired of seeing my seniors who are taking college classes not being able to access their email.  Sites teachers are using may suddenly be blocked from one day to the next.  And then I see kids type in the word "proxy" into Google, and they find a plethora of ways to bypass the filters.  As a matter of fact, my staff and I joke that the Internet filter mainly blocks the teachers--because if the kids want to see a site, they just use a proxy server!

I wish I knew a solution.  It would be great if we could just leave things open but all it would take would be one student offended or stumbling into a site that spouts hate speech or worse, and our district would be hung out to dry. 

I would love to know what others do in this situation.  What's the solution?  Block or not to block?

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