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The Current

Column: School internet is too heavily restricted

Bear River’s IT Site Technician Anthony Barrios is pictured with the iBoss screen that Bruins often encounter while surfing the web at school. Photo by Kalei Owen

Over the last few years, students have been noticing more and more filters infiltrating their computer and the school wifi.

Bear River’s filters are meant to block access to social medias, gaming sites, and inappropriate websites. However, these filters also block sites that aren’t entertainment or game content. Some of the most commonly blocked sites that students feel should be open are music lyric sites, Wikia, and research sites. Another issue with the blocks is that the wifi is blocked, and once the students are at home, there are still the blocks in place. Once the Chromebook is at home, you should be able to access games and social media.

Junior Ethan Schrack presented a strong point about computer access at home, and why the blocks shouldn’t be in place once you get off school campus.

“I don’t like how iBoss remains active when you’re off of school campus because when you are at home or on the weekends, especially the students who can’t afford a laptop or technology, a Chromebook would be so helpful,” said Schrack. “Just to kill time on the weekends, maybe let them have a bit more fun, or to actually have a social media account. There are good resources that iBoss blocks.”

Another problem with the blockage at school is actual resources and music sites are blocked. Freshman Corbin Walton commented on his issues with the blockage.

“Sometimes it is too restrictive,” he said. “I’ve been doing research projects where I look up instruments and iBoss just blocks me out. They could lessen the blocks on informational sites.”

Freshman Micah Brown shared this opinion and went on to share his personal issues.

“I think they should be less restrictive because there are music sites I can’t get onto,” Brown commented. “This morning I was looking up song lyrics and it wouldn’t let me look at them.”

These blocks should allow students to look up things, play games and access social media when they are off school wifi. A notable problem with the school wifi being blocked is after school, the library becomes a public library, and all the sites are still blocked. On top of this being censorship, students are unable to learn because of these huge restrictions.

Anthony Barrios, Bear River’s IT Technician, commented on how these blocks can’t be removed because of statewide regulation.

“Students are using school equipment and wireless access,” Mr. Barrios said. “To do that we have to follow certain guidelines and those guidelines necessitate the filters to be in place… There has to be stipulations and that’s mandated by the state of California.”

While these blocks are too heavy, limiting and stop research, they don’t seem to be leaving anytime soon. Mr. Barrios also talked about how we can get sites unblocked if they are school appropriate.

“You can fill out the comment portion and in one to two weeks it will be unblocked,” says Mr. Barrios.

The issue with this, however, is most projects are three days to one week long, so the site won’t be unblocked until the project is already over. Overall, iBoss blocks some helpful sites and prohibits learning.

For a resource that is supposed to be helpful to learning, the Chromebook is sometimes less useful than a brick.

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Column: School internet is too heavily restricted