Web Restrictions: To Block Or Not To Block?

Sam Noonan, Staff Writer

We all know what it’s like to use the school wifi. Every other website seems to be blocked, and the only solutions seem to be using data on your phone or turning on a VPN. This is what nearly everyone does, and instead of the restrictions actually working, they just force kids to be a bit craftier.

It’s completely understandable that the school wants to keep kids off of social media; they make this clear. However, accessing these sites is just a click of a button or tap of a screen away. The restrictions aren’t stopping anyone, and countless students still go on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and more. In fact, I believe these restrictions cause more harm than help. I’ve had many websites that I’ve tried to use for schoolwork be blocked for absolutely no reason – websites that contain information that is 100% school appropriate, and would help with schoolwork. This is constantly frustrating, and sometimes it’s flat out funny seeing “This website contains prohibited Friendship content.” Really? Friendship? I’m often found wondering what kind of algorithm they could be using for this, or how in the world these websites are blocked.

There’s no good way to stop students from going on social media during school, and it would be extremely difficult to find a way to. Kids will almost always find a way to get past online restrictions, and more often than not, websites being restricted causes more harm than help. What if someone needs to get on a website that is blocked for no reason? They’re forced to either use their data, or a VPN. It’s also common to run into situations where one part of a website is blocked, but the other isn’t. This is also frustrating, and nobody likes their work being messed up. Forest Hills Northern, Forest Hills Eastern, and Forest Hills Central all block social media sites, but East Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Christian, and Catholic Central do not block it.

I don’t know how exactly the school is managing these restrictions, or what they’re using for them, but there has to be a better way to go about this. The way I see it, there’s really no point to having these restrictions. There will almost always be a way around them, and all they do is limit our usage of the technology we depend on during school.