If internet filtering is the answer, then what is the question?

I ended up on yet another committee.  This one deals with the policies and procedures surrounding the internet filter that all traffic from the schools must pass through in order to get connected.  If the filter says OK, then you’re there.  If says NO, then it’s a no go.

In a perfect world, everyone is a thoughtful and wise user of resources.  But then, in a perfect world, all of the resources that you would like to access are thoughfully and wisely placed online.

So, we purchase a service to help ensure that the content that is accessible is appropriate.

Image via Wikipedia

This is clearly an issue where I can see all sides of the argument.  Life was indeed easier before sliced bread.

There are concerns about young students accessing adult content.  There are concerns about using up all of the bandwidth if every user was streaming audio and video all day long.  There are concerns about the entry of viruses or other forms of malware entering the system.  There are concerns about phishing efforts hijacking personal information and identity.

There are some classrooms where access to resources is heavily controlled.  There are some other classrooms where students are encouraged to explore and research deeply.  There is also a desire to use web based collaborative tools to explode the walls of the classroom so that all can become globally involved in discussions and projects.

Because internet content filters are used for more than just education, there’s also a business slant on these things.  What might be inappropriate for access in a business office could be very powerful in the hands of a student and progressive teacher.  What business calls “games”, education may call “simulations”.

While the simplest solution may be to indicate that classroom supervision is the ultimate arbiter, that’s far from perfect.  A quick ALT-Tab puts the user apparently back on task.

I suppose that the good news is that nobody has the best answer.  In the newsgroups that I read on a regular basis, this topic is a constant point of discussion and debate.

So, where in the world is the happy point in this argument that allows for all users to feel fairly treated and their concerns addressed?

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