I do not want to date myself, but back in my day, not every kid in school had a computer and not every classroom had internet access. In fact it was not until middle school when we had any kind of computer access and then it was in a lab. While I considered myself an advanced computer user as a kid, I pale in comparison to the students today.
Schools may try to curb or limit access for students to get to places like MySpace, which is now the most popular website in the United States, but the reality is the kids get around these restrictions without a problem. A lot of schools implement firewalls like BESS as a way to limit a student’s access to the outside world. Sites like MySpace, Facebook and others are deemed off-limits by most schools. The problem is students easily circumvent these blocks by using proxy servers. If you go to any school, you will find one or more students who host their own proxy server and share it with other students to get around these security measures. On top of that there are thousands of publicly accessible proxies available to everyone. The students are able to use these proxies to access any site on the internet, including MySpace. The reality is the students are better equipped to win this war over the gate-keeping parents and teachers.
In some higher-end schools all the students carry laptops and work away with wireless access from anywhere in the school. The issue is reaching epidemic status in some of these schools, with students on MySpace all day long communicating with other students in their school and around the country. They are busy chatting, adding new friends, and posting up new pictures. Very little if anything school related is being accomplished.
Unfortunately this is the double-edged sword of technology. On one hand you have a vast resource of information at a student’s fingertips. On the other hand you have a chronic time-wasting device that is easily maintained against even the strictest vigilance by schools. The question is how much and how far should schools go to limit access? Anything short of no computers is going to leave any system the victims of today’s computer savvy students.
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