Photo by Tyler King
WiFi is a wonderful thing that impacts the world today. It’s the basis of almost all things, but there is bad in it, too. You can easily be pulled into dangerous sites. The Web is scattered with scams. Starkville High School WiFi, however, is protected.
Mr. Sean McDonnall is the principal at Starkville High School. He explained that the blockers are there to protect the students.
“What you need to understand is that we get a lot of federal money to pay for that internet. Federal law mandates that we have what’s called the CIPA and COPPA,” Mcdonnall said.
The school must keep the blockers in place in order to keep federal funding to help pay for the WiFi.
The CIPA, or Children’s Internet Protection Act, is an act that was passed by Congress in 2000. It was put into place to protect children from inappropriate and harmful websites and content. COPPA, or Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, was the prequel to CIPA and was in act from 1998 to 2000.
“If it’s helping you keep from getting on sites that are you are not supposed to, then we can keep those kids from being introduced to inappropriate material, then it’s doing its job,” McDonnall said.
The blocker’s job is to filter the material students and even teachers are introduced to.
“If there’s a website, for instance, that a teacher wants to access that is blocked by a particular filter, they can email the technology department the web address they want to use for class and they will let that site through, if it’s approved and not inappropriate,” McDonnall said.
The team at Central Office has control over what they block and keep the students’ interest in the choosing. The blocker can be disabled at any time. Any site can be blocked.
Mrs. Amy Pate is the technology specialist at Starkville High School. She believes the blockers and the effects of the blocker override any negativity of them.
“Honestly, I believe that the purpose of the content blocker is to help with keeping students away from inappropriate material on the web while at school. While it is not perfect, it does help tremendously with filtering and blocking inappropriate sites, social media, etc.,” Pate said.
The filter is used to protect students and their general safety. People can easily steal identities and personal information. So far, 103,259 people have fallen into internet scams this year. Teenagers are a lot more gullible and scams are one of the biggest threats to teenagers.
“I believe that it does help students in a way by allowing them to focus on other things while they are at school. I do know, however, that it can be frustrating as well because the filters are often based on key words.”
According to Pate, this frustration comes when occasionally a site will contain the key words or a few of the key words, and this will cause the otherwise harmless site to be blocked.
“So, it can be both a blessing and a curse,” Pate said.
The blocker will always be there and always help students. It is a key part in the safety of students. It is also funded by federal money.