Stop web blocks

In the last two years, Computer Services has increased the number of web pages that are blocked to students. This action shows a lack of faith in students and their maturity.If we can be trusted to police ourselves under the precepts of the Honor Code, we should have the freedom to search the Internet at will.
Because of the web blocks, students have been unable to access sites that they need for research. For example, government students cannot access New York Times political blogs.
Simply put, web blocks hinder learning. Blocking websites and censoring information is not a message an educational institution should send and it is absolutely not one Harvard-Westlake should. Students should be able to sift through all information available and judge for themselves what is legitimate.
Students will not have web blocks for the rest of their lives, and learning how to identify and use credible information is a skill necessary to function in today’s Internet-centric world.
While the motivation may be to block students from viewing objectionable sites, it goes too far when blocking legitimate sources. It is understandable for the school to block those sites that are illegal for minors to view, but beyond that, there is no reason to block any sites.
The school already has students sign an acceptable use agreement. If the purpose of the web blocks is to shield the school from future lawsuits, the school can add a clause that has students accept liability for any of their actions on school computers.
It is naïve for the school to think they are protecting students by blocking information. One absolute in this cyber era is that nothing can be blocked indefinitely and the school is actually committing a disservice to students. Students should have free access to everything the Internet has to offer and should be accorded the trust to make their own decisions.

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