Blocked and Reported

Lilly Roll, Staff Writer

Cool-Math-Games. The place that raised us all. The place where you could play iconic games such as Run, Papa’s Pizzeria, and Fireboy & Watergirl. Our school has betrayed us by blocking this wonderful website where you could play fun, G-rated games available for all students of any age. Okay, I’m obviously kidding. Kind of. Our school has actually blocked a lot of different, useful websites that we as students should be allowed to access. This isn’t something new, however, and it isn’t exclusive to our school district.

North Hills has been trying to protect students from harmful media since the dawn of the internet. But why over the past 4 years has the blocking of media grown significantly? I specifically remember, in middle school, being able to access websites like cool-math-games and even some social media like Twitter. Now if I wanted to play a game during my study hall or check Twitter, I can’t. North Hills most likely did this to try and protect its students from harmful media. Or maybe they did this to try and keep students from goofing off during classes. I’ll never know what led them to this decision to block literally everything but I can say that the school shouldn’t block game websites or news websites. It’s censorship, duh.

While the school should definitely block websites that present explicit content, many websites that have been blocked are simply websites that students need to use for reports, projects, or class activities. According to Michael Gonchar of the New York Times, the American Association of School Librarian states that school’s excessive filtering of websites goes way past what the CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) asks for. North Hills may believe this will help students; however, it actually does a disservice to the students by not preparing them for the “real world”. In college (and really just in life), there isn’t a filter system. You have to be able to process and filter all information, not just the info your school hand picks for you. The artificial environment that has been created for us is doing nothing but damage.

Many students in our school are more advanced technologically than some teachers.These students can break through firewalls quicker than it takes some teachers to open a Youtube video. No matter how many firewalls you set up, some of these kids are always going to be able to break them. These filters that many schools have set up do nothing but frustrate students and even teachers. If a teacher has an activity set up and the website is blocked, their entire lesson plan can be thrown off.

Some people might think that I’m being ridiculous after this entire article has been typed when I say that the blocking issue is actually getting better. The peak of it was 2017-2018. Every other website was blocked in our school district. I feel like now we can access more news websites and there are now different websites for us to get information from. But this is an ongoing issue in other schools. Many students at these schools have expressed their frustrations online but it seems like no one’s listening. Censorship of students media needs to be talked about because it’s only just begun.

The internet, although many of us have lived with our whole lives, is still very new. I think it’s less of the school trying to censor our content but more that they don’t know how or what some websites have or can do. It’s more fear of the unknown than wanting us as students to be unprepared. Either way, when we had cool-math-games, there were less fights in the school so I guess what I’m trying to say is bring cool-math-games back.