Internet access is important

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Internet access is important

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Imagine going about your business in the library, working on an assignment. While looking up new information, you click on a link and receive nothing but a screen saying that the site you are trying to reach is blocked because of questionable content.

At LT, this is far too common an occurrence. The school puts up restrictions, or firewalls, to block students’ access to certain sites. Lately, these restrictions seem to have increased, making internet searches in school increasingly difficult. Although blocking obviously inappropriate sites is understandable, the administration has gone too far. LT must lower the internet restrictions on computers in order to fully prepare students for the future.

It’s predictable that certain websites are blocked on the LT computers. It makes sense that pornographic and other inappropriate websites have restrictions on them. No one wants to see that in class, and it’s downright illegal. And sure, it makes sense that social media sites are blocked so that we don’t get distracted when we’re supposed to be doing our school work. The issue isn’t those sites. The issue arises when sites are blocked that, although not fully credible or perhaps biased, are useful to students’ education in the long run. For example, although it has been drilled into our brains for as long as we can remember; it is important to know that Wikipedia is not always credible, but there can be credible sources listed in the footnotes.

Now more than ever, the internet is an integral part of education. Inherently, one aspect of this education should be teaching students how to be smart when using the internet, and more importantly: be safe. Researching something online is just as much a skill as completing the square, and is–arguably–more useful in the future. No matter what students are looking for, they need to have the right skills to find the right information. Being able to distinguish a biased news source from an unbiased one, or a credible website from one that is not, is crucial to students’ success in the future.

The truth is the real internet isn’t filtered. When students move on to college and leave the walls of LT, they need to have the basic skills of being smart digital consumers. Students need to be able to distinguish credible from not credible, and know the signs of a website that might install viruses in their computers. By blocking websites like these, LT is blocking students’ learning. Students are now led in the right direction of credible, safe websites, essentially holding their hands as they search the internet. This poses a greater threat in the long run, and could pose consequences in their future academics or careers.

At the end of the day, students and teenagers are technologically savvy. We understand our way around the internet like the back of our hand. But, we may need some guidance for internet use beyond Snapchat and Instagram. The firewalls and restrictions LT places on the school’s computers are overbearing and hurtful for students in the long run. These restrictions must be lowered to allow students to fully understand the digital era we live in. Until the restrictions are lessened, we can all stick to playing JavaScript snake.

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