Why Internet blocking sucks.

16 04 2008

And no, this is not a rant about how wrong it is that I can’t get on facebook at school. It’s annoying, but it’s really no big deal.

I HATE the internet blocking software my school has. Not just the fact that, in the library, it blocks MySpace, Facebook (both of which make total sense), or most blog sites (but not wordpress – ha ha!). I hate the stupid little “porn blocker”. Granted, one should not be watching porn in school.  And, who would? The problem lies in the other things it censors.

I was trying to get on the Disability Pride Parade’s website this morning. Yes, there is a disability pride parade. Cool idea, huh?

It was blocked as “pornography”. Umm, what?

Also, parts of AfterEllen.com have been blocked in the past. Most of that site is pretty PG-rated. Although I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, could it be because the content has to do with queer issues?

And that’s just the beginning of it. Good luck trying to get on a website that has “sex” in the title. This not only prevents people from watching porn, but also, prevents them, most likely, from researching such timely topics as sex education and sex worker rights.

I’m going to say it. When it’s teenagers we’re talking about, internet censorship and controls are, well, stupid.

Never mind the fact that it blocks websites that really aren’t “objectionable” in the first place. The whole thing comes from a misguided menatlity: “We must protect the children from sex!”. I would seriously dispute calling someone between the age of 14-18 a “child”, and a good number of high school students are having sex anyway. It wouldn’t kill them to learn about it. Plus, I seriously doubt that the intention of the censorbot is to prevent students from watching porn. Anyone will tell you, it’s very difficult to do that in a crowded computer lab. Plus, if the problem is students “slacking off”, let the teachers deal with that themselves. Slacking is objective; what might be off topic for one class may not be for another.

I think people seriously underestimate high school students. Most of us aren’t dumb enough to be watching porn in school. So I say take the censorware off the computers. Let students and teachers use their discretion.

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5 responses

17 04 2008
cripchick

wow, first of all, i didn’t know you were in high school. that makes me even happier that you are blogging, we need more fellow young people blogging!

and YES. censoring the disability pride parade? i wonder if it was “pride parade” that kicked the bot on. lord knows pride parades of any kind= going to hell. (sarcasm of course).

21 04 2008
Nick Kiddle

I remember last year I was on a back-to-work training course and the computers in the training centre had some similarly stupid block. End of the first day, we were supposed to be researching companies we’d like to work for, and I went looking for the stonewall list of LGBT-friendly employers. You’ve probably guessed how it ends: blocked as “gay content”. I went ballistic at everyone within earshot, but the person who made the decision about the stupid block wasn’t there to hear.

(Found you via your comments at feministe, btw.)

25 04 2008
queerunity

that is really cool that there is a disability pride parade, never heard of that! i want to see if there is one in NY

http://www.queersunited.blogspot.com

28 04 2008
ubuntucat

The real problem is that there’s no algorithm that works, and most of these blockers can be circumvented anyway by teenagers who are determined to look at porn.

5 05 2008
Are You Fruity?

my schol blocks the Human Rights Campaign website. It’s depressing…i was using it for school, too.

(if you haven’t noticed, i’m going through your entire blog and reading the entries i haven’t read…)

i have to mention, as depressing as it is to defend censorship, that there is a threat of people watching porn in public places…my friend is a librarian at our neighborood library, and they have had a problem recently of a man coming in and using the library computers to watch porn. They have thrown him out and threatened him with arrest multiple times, but the problem could have been eliminated before it happened if they had a computer filter system. So, though I think the number one motivation of school administrators to block websites at school is to isolate and censor kids from potentially liberating information, a smaller motivation could be to block porn not from children themselves, but from adults who might end up in the building.

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