Having a strict web block does more harm than good


Spotify has been blocked from student computers for around three years. This is the screen that displays when the application is searched for.

Have you ever tried to reach a website, but it was blocked by the school? If you answered yes, you are in the same boat as most of the school population.

Around three years ago, the school increased the number of websites blocked and blocked certain keyword searches from the school computers. I still long for the good old days of my freshman year when we still had an ounce of freedom online.

I can think of at least three situations of when the web block has hindered my education. I can almost guarantee if any student were randomly asked to tell a story of when the web block caused a problem in the classroom, they would be able to as well.

The first situation is when I had to research breast cancer for a science project. The web block would not allow me to because my search included the word “breast.” It is completely understandable to not want students to look up pornographic images, but I think a better solution would be to have consequences in place for the rare instance that this may occur.

The second situation was recently in my DECA class. Our teacher wanted to get us Facebook ad certified to further educate us on marketing and give us a skill to put on our resumes. We were not able to do this because Facebook is blocked. Social media can definitely cause distractions in school, but I think in this situation its use is justified.

The third situation is a reoccurring annoyance throughout my school days. This is the block of programs like Spotify. I miss Spotify in particular because I strongly believe that being able to listen to music and podcasts while completing work increases my productivity.

The reasoning I have always heard for having such strict web blocks is to increase bandwidth and make Wi-Fi connection better throughout the school. This reason would make sense if it worked, but Wi-Fi in the school is awful. Certain places in the E building and some science classrooms barely have any connection, and it makes it very frustrating to try and complete work in those spaces.

A public school as large as ours and that relies so heavily on the internet should be investing in much better Wi-Fi than we currently are. If students using applications like Spotify is truly what sends the connection over the edge, that just means that the bandwidth was never adequate in the first place.

I understand that we are a public school with limited funding, but I feel like this is something that should be a top priority. In my whole high school career, I have only ever taken one class that did not require internet use, and that was Physical Education.

With that being said, I do not think there is anyone specific to blame for this issue. It just seems like there is a disconnect between the people who make these decisions and the people who these decisions affect.

I encourage people to look at the negative sides of having such a strict web block. I am sure this idea looked very good on paper, but in practice, it hurts the people it was meant to protect.