Saturday, July 25, 2009

Internet Filtering

There seems to be a great deal of "talk" on blogs about internet filters in schools.

The following bog post got me "fired up" about the subject
Technology in the Middle

The following quote is from that post (with bold portions made by me, not the author):
"To be clear, I am not opposed to using filters to help shield children from reprehensible websites, and fully appreciate that privacy and productivity are vital in the business world. However, the Ronco “set it and forget it” mantra is not a viable approach to filtering. We’re not preparing rotisserie chicken; we’re trying to prepare students to lead lives of service and purpose as they grow into adults capable of behaving ethically and responsibly online."

Of course there are pros and cons. No one wants a young child exposed to unecesssary inappropriate content. Of course teachers should be professional and technically competent enough to be allowed to access any site. Before elementary, middle school, and high school students have permission to use the internet, they need to be taught responsible and correct behavior appropriate to their age-level. As their responsibilty and knowledge about correct internet behavior increases, they should have more access to the internet.

Did you notice that I said "elementary" students, as well as middle school and high school? Teaching internet responsibility and etiquette starts as soon as a student starts using the computer... even at home with pre-schoolers.

Parents, also, have a responsibilitiy to educate their children in proper technology procedures and rules. Obviously, pre-schoolers do not have blanket access to the internet or all computer programs! When parents do not have technology access or technology savvy, then they need to call upon others with more knowledge. They need to find resources that will help them. Sometimes, parents' first internet and technology exposure is when their children go to school.

What do you think? What filters are necessary for which age levels? What about teaching parents how to teach their children these skills? Can there be classes at school for this? How does your school solve this quandry? What is your school's internet filtering policy? its Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)?

What are your thoughts?

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