Blocking sites on school provided laptops is more damaging than helpful

Kirsten Carl, In-Depth Editor

Art by Bridget Levesque

Every student knows the feeling of logging onto their school computer to look for inspiration for a class, or simply browse the internet. However, this becomes an impossible task since the school board has blocked content access to websites such as Buzzfeed, Pinterest, and Netflix on school-provided computers. This can be a real issue for students who need these websites to successfully complete their classwork, or students who simply want to enjoy their favorite websites at school.

 Many of these applications are crucial for success in classes such as art, and design, and serve as  resources for students to draw inspiration. Without these websites, students are unable to complete their work to the best of their ability. Isn’t the whole point of these computers to provide us with resources to succeed academically? In journalism, we search for design and graphic templates from previously created page layouts, and without access to these sites, we cannot fully complete our job, which feels ironic. Being able to successfully complete the laborious task of compiling a school newspaper, without access to such important applications such as Pinterest is extremely difficult. 

Additionally, video games and entertainment sites are blocked on the computers. Sites such as Netflix are blocked which is extremely problematic to some students, including myself. Being able to relax by watching TV during parts of the school day, like before and after class, and in between classes, lowers my stress, and allows me to reduce anxiety during the school day. However, Netflix and other streaming sites are blocked. Additionally, some students do not have personal laptops, and cannot access these relaxing and fun websites from home, leaving them at a disadvantage since students with personal computers do have access to these sites. The inability to access these sites feels like an insult. If we are responsible enough to have computers with us, then we should be responsible enough to have access to these sites. 

Finally, due to the blocking of these apps and websites, students have begun to download apps off of sketchy websites and VPNs, which risks exposing their computers to viruses and bugs, all to play a game and enjoy fun in between classes.

These apps become necessary to relax during the school day and they hold important information that students need the ability to access. Making these apps and sites accessible would allow students more creative freedom, and allow students to feel heard.