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Point/Counterpoint: Internet censorship

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[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Internet censorship–the idea that parts of the Internet should be completely blocked and restricted to the public–has been a highly contested issue due to the growing complexity of the World Wide Web over the past 25 years. In the past few months, certain cable providers have proceeded to cut off specific Internet content to express their opposition of this freedom. Numerous education systems and schools throughout the nation have also resorted to censoring certain content. Here’s our discussion on the impact of Internet censorship at Hebron.

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Against – Danish Asif

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For – Dylan Hong

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Inappropriate Content

Some websites today are known for their unsuitable material that students should not be looking at, regardless of their maturity level. There are enough scarring moments prevalent in numerous movies full of unnecessary innuendos and vulgarity; even many books once considered to be the best and most appealing way to educate one’s self, have too corroded, incorporating several questionable character relationships to stand out as more original and creative. The last thing students need is the unlimited and independent access to this explicit content.

Reasonable Filtering

Administrators have their justifiable reasons for censoring certain content. In some circumstances students may be hindered by various websites that are blocked due to mere terms like “sex,” which is not always a sign of inappropriate content. In these kinds of situations, it’s simply much too difficult to distinguish between each and every website’s morally good or bad intentions, and it’s a burdening challenge to try. The issue is controversial, but it shouldn’t be, because this is an ongoing flaw that probably won’t be resolved without a strict adherence to a filter.

Addiction Fulfillment

Without Internet censorship, students can and will procrastinate and not complete class work on time. Several websites express a high probability of addiction, the most famous being online video games. A vast amount of time spent saying“Five more minutes!” and attempting to complete a single level for an hour is immensely unproductive in the classroom. Students need a load off every now and then, but getting a gold medal or a score over a 100 in Flappy Birds only makes a teacher’s job more difficult.

Negative Publicity

Teens today are at risk of being virtually harassed or targeted via the internet at some point in their lives. According to Bullying Statistics, 1 in 3 teens have experienced cyberbullying. Photo sharing in particular is a major factor in the school’s censorship of Instagram, Flickr and Facebook, since taking candid pictures of other people, blackmailing and threatening can be quite psychologically disastrous on a person. Twitter, increasing in widespread usage by teens every year, is also gradually becoming a tool of persecution, mostly through subtweets, yet it isn’t blocked. With subtweets, people are indirectly addressing their followers without actually mentioning them. In reality, these tweets could just as easily invoke anger and conflicting emotions. Through internet censorship, this can be prevented on a large scale and keep teens safe at school and reinforce positive habits.

Costly Equipment

Often, websites aren’t blocked for their horrifying content or array of online predators, but rather their threats to computer security. Viruses can completely overtake and infect a computer to the point where it’s inoperable. These programs can take a long time to repair. Furthermore, these issues aren’t as easy as simply downloading anti-virus software and hoping that it magically removes a threat. Many of these programs require a technician which, proves to be counterintuitive and expensive. Incorporating your own expertise would be the only option, but you probably aren’t a computer engineer.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]YouTube Filter is incomplete

There are many websites that are blocked ineffectively due to “mature” content. For example, YouTube is known for being filtered at school Internet, when it shouldn’t be. There are other educational videos not on the educational channel that students can watch. However, filtering YouTube and allowing students to only browse videos with educational categories limits a student’s ability to gather the information during the school day. Also, the YouTube app on the  school-issued iPads does not allow students to view any YouTube video over 10 minutes, while there are many helpful videos that easily exceed that limit.

Students are mature enough to handle the Internet

High school students are mature enough to handle the subjects that the school has censored. We only have a few years left until adulthood, and can judge the results of our actions. By the time students are in high school, they know the disciplinary consequences for browsing through inappropriate content; Censoring many websites that students don’t browse limits their ability to gauge self-responsibility.

Useful Websites Blocked

Since the Internet has tremendously increased in size during the past few decades, the school has started to follow the trend of giving the newest technologies to the students for them to use to help succeed in their education. However, while the district handed those items to students, they also limited their ability to use the technology to the full potential. Website filtering has become oppressive accordingly; new websites are created every minute, making it impossible for administrators to check each website for the information that each site contains.

Administrators have blocked many useful websites without actually looking closely at the information, limiting a student’s choice for the specific information that they need. However, since checking each website for their suitable content is nearly impossible, the administrators should end the Internet filtering and give permission to students to gain the information that they need during the school day.

Viruses do not threaten school technology

Although there are censorships to prevent spyware and viruses that threaten the school systems, there are only a small amount of websites that actually have viruses and spywares. Those are usually pornographic in nature, and malware is usually spread by downloading content, which students usually don’t do in the age of cloud computing. Even if viruses are on the computer, they can be checked and removed by various antivirus softwares, such as Norton and Eastsoft. Some of them are also free, such as Avast and AVG antivirus.

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Point/Counterpoint: Internet censorship