A recent post by Mike Gwaltney “Keeping Kids off the Internet – What’s With the Draconian Filtering Policies?” posed some important questions “Is filtering necessary? If so, why filter so aggressively? Is there a way to filter effectively that both protects students and allows them to use the Web to its potential? Aren’t we doing students a disservice by blocking the full internet?”
Here’s my response:
I grew up in a heavily curated information landscape. The news was limited to relatively few sources. I can even remember the days of the 15 minute evening national news cast. Schools were just another one of the information gatekeepers that ruled my life. But at the same time it was rather tough for me to get in trouble. (though at age 16, I did manage to read large portions of the newly banned “Fanny Hill” in the aisles of a progressive bookstore).
Today, students are awash in text without context. They are only a click away from reading that the “Holocaust was a hoax.” Ironically many schools respond by filtering. Wouldn’t it make more sense opening up the internet at school – providing thoughtful analysis and responsible use?
Filtering teaches hacking, not responsible use.
For more on this subject see my post “What Happens in Schools When Life Has become an Open-book Test?“
Image credit: Flickr/GIANTsqurl