As the years have gone on since we were first handed a Chromebook in 2014, the restrictions put on them have become more severe. The security measures are supposed to be for the greater good of the school. In many instances, it is just becoming quite tedious. Inappropriate content blocked has now extended to the very websites that teachers are having us use in our classes.
Undoubtedly, the restrictions are there for our protection. However, we are at an age where we should be allowed to have enough responsibility to navigate and use our devices appropriately. Even with all the blocking, students still find a way to get into game websites. At this stage, we are becoming young adults, and our individual actions should have consequences rather than putting more restrictions on everyone. Restricting everything sends the message that we can’t think for ourselves. It’s come to the point where teachers have to go through loopholes to show videos that pertain to a lesson. Even music apps, which could be used at home to help students study, are blocked. We know music shouldn’t be played during school hours unless allowed. But where is that responsibility given? There should at least be an option for us to be able to make responsible decisions. And before you can make big decisions, computer searches are baby steps. In order to be prepared for the real world, we have to be given a chance to be responsible Senior Niyonzima Charmantine agrees.
“School is supposed to prepare us for the real world and blocking off all websites isn’t going to help us make good decisions,” she said. While certain websites should be blocked due to explicit content, sometimes it is just overbearing. As a responsible student, you know you shouldn’t be on those websites. Teachers should be using their ability to restrict those websites while in school.
The teachers have a program called Classwize which allows them to monitor and restrict the students’ access to the internet while they are in class and that allows them to view what they are doing at all times. But for some kids, the Chromebook is the only way they can access the internet. So it shouldn’t be a crime if they play a game or watch YouTube after school. According to Stephanie Straitiff, the Chief Technology Officer for the town, the Chromebooks are run with two tools, Google Management Console and Linewize.
“Linewize is a replacement for Go Guardian this year that provides filtering and monitoring so that the district is compliant with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA),” Straitiff explained. The CIPA was put in place to limit “obscene or harmful content over the Internet,” according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). “As a department, we are always working to improve our security while working with the resources that are available,” said Straitiff.
Recently, the IT Department blocked YouTube due to the high percentage of kids who are on it all day. It’s a website that teachers and students alike use for class. Even history teacher Mr. Svec agreed, “YouTube should absolutely not be blocked….for a myriad of reasons.” It also typically ends up causing conflict with lessons. As a fellow sophomore Brendin Patil said, “They should block certain things but I think the restrictions should be the same with teachers and the students because there will be a website that they use but is blocked for us and we can’t use it. Which ends up derailing plans for lessons.” Students can just find new ways to access these websites. To me personally at this point, if they are going to continue to limit the things we can do, then why let us, the students, carry the Chromebooks?
We need to be able to use the Chromebooks as a resource, whether to study, do research, or work on our assignments outside or inside of school. But, with the connection issues along with banned websites, it has become impossible. In some instances, the teacher has to give permission for students to go on their phones in order to access the material. It’s simply ridiculous that the one tool we are allowed to use in school has only a couple of limited options. Overall, we should be given the ability to navigate the internet with integrity as we are moving towards adulthood. We need to be able to think for ourselves and face the consequences if we fail to acknowledge the responsibility that we are given. Chromebooks provide us a great opportunity to be able to manage ourselves and use technology as a tool. To be given the opportunity to have maturity when using the internet is essential.