2015 February, Opinions, Stop Censoring our Internet, Shan

Stop Censoring our Internet
by Ethan Shan, 2018 (posted 2-11-16)

It’s the first day of school after winter break. You just went to Florida and left your phone behind, so you decide to upload your photos to Facebook during study hall first session. But what’s this? Facebook is blocked by CHS! 

Those of us who had Chromebooks™ back in Dodd may remember the Zscaler™ blockade set up to prevent us from visiting certain sites. That wasn’t an issue, because back then, Dodd Middle School did not have the capital to extend this to our phones and personal devices.

But now at CHS, a new program has arisen: iBoss™ Network Security. Unlike the previous Zscaler™ application, iBoss™ has the ability to function on multiple devices because it operates through the cloud. Because of this feature, iBoss™ has become a tool that Zscaler™ could never be. However, it may be the wrong way to approach the problem of Internet safety.

The program in charge of filtering websites isn’t perfect. Some sites that may be completely appropriate may be flagged by the software for adult content. In addition, inappropriate content can be easily accessed through search engines and little-known websites, or the Deep Web* if special software is used.

But most importantly, censorship violates the First Amendment. Many of us who took APUSH may remember the Sedition Act that arrested people who spoke out against the government. Censorship, like this bygone law, violates the First Amendment by restricting what can be seen by the public. This is an intolerable transgression against one of the most fundamental columns that makes America the representation of democracy.

For these reasons, censorship does not deserve a place in school. However, the issue of inappropriate content still remains. Fortunately, there is an easy answer to this dilemma: teach our students to use the Internet responsibly. If we learn the proper behavior to exhibit online, then censorship software will be unnecessary.

Many people who argue for censorship point out that censorship is the best way to protect our youth from the Internet’s worst places (although the worst is on the Deep Web*, which is mostly inaccessible to the general public). They say that many youngsters will continually search for adult content on their own. However, if the proper training is administered correctly, then this issue can be avoided, making censorship software obsolete.

On behalf of all CHS students, I say this message: please discontinue the censorship of CHS’s Internet. In its effort to make the Internet a safer place, it fails to perform its job in many cases, as well as disregarding the First Amendment altogether. The real way to solve the issue is by educating proper online etiquette. With this training, censorship can be removed without consequence, and the money used to pay iBoss™ can be used to pay for other resources, such as better Internet security and improvements to electronic equipment. In the end, the removal of censorship will lead to a better learning experience for all.

*The Deep Web is the majority of the Internet which is mostly inaccessible unless special software is used. Much of this part of the Internet is illegal activity.

Image Courtesy Google Images