If you are a student in the 4J district, you may have found that certain social media platforms and websites are blocked by the school wifi. If you have ever wondered why your Snapchat takes forever to load or why FaceBook is blocked, it all comes down to the the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).
In order for school districts to receive federal funding, they need to comply with the CIPA standards for filtering out inappropriate content. Large corporations will sell districts products that create lists or categories of content that should be blocked: gambling, pornogarphy, drugs, etc.
However, the 4j infrastructure is old and some websites that were blocked years ago are no longer a concern for the school districts.
“The 4j District tends to air on the side of open network and is starting to reevaluate the old categories to unblock some websites,” said Steve Menachemson, the director of technology at the 4j offices downtown.
The main reason for 4j wanting to block certain websites is in the best interest of students and teachers. Whether a site is deemed inappropriate or distracting, the technicians behind the 4J wifi can block sites in the same way parental control works.
“The categories that the product gives us do not usually include social media platforms as they are not seen harmful to kids, however, if a district determines through a panel that there is a need to block [social media apps] then it can,” said Menachemson.
If there is going to be a blocking of social media, several committees and panels of community members and even students are involved in the decision making process.
There is also a problem with the wifi being extremely slow, so for students who have iPods, iPads, laptops or other devices that require the internet, to load it can be a hindrance. There are apps out there designed to be an extension for making your internet faster which are a great consideration if you are used to a quicker loading time.