Censorship aids smarter learning

District website censorship necessary to meet standards of education

Most of us are familiar with the restricted page in maroon on our laptops, and although it can be inconvenient at times, it is there to ensure everyone’s safety.

MPS has been filtering Internet content prior to the One-to-One development with our school-provided laptops. 

The district uses a vendor called Content Keeper (CK) to filter Internet traffic. CK has educational filter categories that are compatible with the Children’s Internet Protection Action (CIPA) regulations. 

Even though this vendor is in place for student’s safety, MPS can modify the CK filters as needed. When legitimate websites get blocked, it is usually because they are seen as uncategorized, meaning that a certain site doesn’t fit under one of the educational categories.

Blocking uncategorized websites helps protect staff and students from phishing, ransomware, and other online attacks.

According to Executive Director of Technology for Millard Public Schools Kent Kingston, “We continue to open up websites to allow our staff and students to access all appropriate material on the Internet. It is a balancing act to keep staff and students safe online while at the same time allowing for access to the information that is available on the Internet.”

A common theme for students is being frustrated when an educational website is blocked. In this case, they can submit a helpdesk ticket. 

The helpdesk tickets can be found on the desktop of a school-provided laptop. The icon is a blue circle with a question mark inside of it. The first step to submitting a ticket is clicking on the icon and entering the student’s school username and password. Then click next and a new page should appear. To submit a problem or question, there is a rectangle box that says ‘Have a problem? Report it’.

After the helpdesk ticket is submitted, it will be reviewed to see if the website can be unblocked. Blocking educational sites are unintentional, but it does happen.

Our laptops and school emails are for educational purposes to enrich our learning. If we didn’t have filters, the purpose of having laptops in the first place would be diminished. Students would be distracted and focusing their time on unproductive activities, like playing games.

We are privileged to have theses devices and it allows all students to have access to a computer, whether they would be able to afford one themselves or not. We need to respect the amenities that we are given and use the laptop with the purpose that it is intended for.

The filters keep students protected, and it also helps teach everyone how to be safe online. Starting smart learning and studying habits now is key for future success.