Are the web filters at FHC too restrictive?

While in the process of completing a lab in AP Chemistry, I was instructed to rewatch a video on standard deviation which could be found on teacher-Youtuber Mr. Nystrom’s website: However, whenever I typed in the website name, I encountered an error page. Frustrated, I continued to attempt to manipulate my computer to get onto his website; however, I was unable to discover a solution. I was then forced to accept that I would have to complete viewing the video and answering the corresponding questions at home—for homework. 

Unfortunately, the example above is not my sole encounter with the web filters that FHC has. Countless times I have come into contact with a blocked source while conducting research for my weekly editorials. And it’s not like I’m researching topics that would cause websites that deserve to be blocked to appear; therefore, I have most definitely experienced my fair share of obstacles because of the web filters. 

Do I loathe FHC’s web filters? No, that’s too strong of a word. Do I think that FHC needs to revoke their web filters? Of course not, that’s ridiculous. But, do I just wish that I could get onto safe, educational websites such as at school? Yes

An article about internet filtering in schools posted on the website Spamtitan states that online filtering in schools has remained a prominent, debated issue since the passing of the Children’s Internet Protection Act in 2000. The law requires that schools that instruct any grade from kindergarteners to seniors in high school utilize internet filters and restrictions to protect students from sensitive and harmful information online.

The article includes that opponents of the act argue that web filters in schools prevent students from accessing valuable educational and social information. It also states that opponents claim that web filters prevent students from learning how to properly, effectively, and responsibly navigate through the Internet. 

The website SimpleWall holds an article that supports web filters. It states that the utmost benefit of web filters in schools is that students are protected. The article adds that they aid school authorities in keeping schools safe from any possible allegations of anyone accessing a questionable source. It argues that the majority of research conducted by students is now completely Internet-based; therefore, it is necessary that students be saved from any unwanted redirection to malicious or inappropriate websites—and web filters do just that.

But do I just wish that I could get onto safe, educational websites such as at school? Yes.”

And that’s true, especially for me. The information and research for my weekly editorials—and every other research paper I have had to write in high school—has been collected completely from online sources. I do not remember the last time I utilized a book from a library to complete a research paper assigned in a subject other than English. Even then, I only utilized the book to provide quotes from it to support my thesis. Therefore, it is understandable that students be guided towards safe websites during web searches; however, it is truly unlucky that safe websites, such as, are undeservingly blocked.  

To solve the issues that I frequently experience, and I guarantee that a considerable amount of students also face, an article on the website PublicSchoolReview suggests that while web filter systems are not perfect, a happy medium needs to be reached between potentially helpful and potentially harmful websites. It argues that schools need to remain up-to-date with the constant evolution of the Internet in order to provide students with the best and safest online experience possible. 

Although I will survive AP Chemistry without obtaining access to at school, it is annoying to encounter a web filter where it is not rightfully deserved. Hopefully, future AP Chemistry students will be lucky enough to experience at school the helpful information Mr. Nystrom provides on his website. 

Until then, I guess.