By Ashay Panse
Shame. Disappointment. Frustration. Schools are snatching away basic human rights from students. The right to education and the right to freedom. Why? How? Through a simple, yet complex concept known as a restriction.
Let me explain…
I doubt most of you have realized that although Snapchat is unblocked, we are more constrained today on our wifi than we were last year. The “Error 404 Forbidden” messages or “server not found” disclaimers are haunting us to this day in our learning. In fact, the school has blocked several websites such as Netflix and Youtube which are useful for our education. ISKL restricts their web services to unbelievable boundaries only to hinder our own learning. Do we pay 100k a year to better equip ourselves for the future? Or do we pay 100k a year to be locked in this jail cell of restriction?
Look into it, if we can only browse what the school wants us to research, how are we expected to “think critically”? How are we expected to think outside the box, when we are the ones trapped inside the box? Sure, we listen in class and take notes, but what if we wanted to seek-out to learn more? Aren’t the restrictions restricting us?
Moreover, I am not saying this because it is obvious nor because I need an argument; it’s because such an indecent act happened to us, in our health classes. We wanted to watch videos on conducting CPR and abdominal thrusts, but, as you guessed, the school has a lot of fun blocking resourceful videos for utter enjoyment purposes.
This is a true image of what happens when you search up Conscious Choking – Adult and Child on Youtube on our school wifi. A video posted by the Red Cross. Have a look. It’s very educational.
More: conducted research from professionals suggests that the use of technology in schools is only restricted to certain content, making it considerably less effective for us to learn and to reason information critically. What is the point of learning when we do not get to learn? What is the point of a school that does not want to expand teaching or provide us with better resources? What is the point of 100k in fees, only to have Big Brother watching us? Is this a supportive educational institution or the internet police?
Furthermore, if Red Cross wasn’t enough to prove that restrictions should be abolished; consider that web filters can damage our future careers, creating a negative lifelong impact on us. Netflix, for example, is one of the many educational resources our school has pointlessly blocked. Now one may ask, how is Netflix educational? Well, what if you wanted to become a film director and pursue a career in filmography? We have IB film, but Netflix is blocked? How are we supposed to trust the ISKL course guide for IB film which says “Students will explore the various contexts of film and make links to and between films, filmmakers and filmmaking techniques,” when all the film streaming services are blocked? You cannot learn by not watching movies! You cannot open up to all these career pathways because from the beginning you are restricted, you and your prosperous learning; since ISKL is, “Hindering prospects as work ready students”.
Imagine, you love video games. Games are your passion, hobbies, and the love of your life. Now, isn’t restricting access to gaming websites stopping you from following those passion, stopping you from achieving those dreams? We thought ISKL was the school of freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, freedom of thought; how come the school isn’t following their motto…“Be All You Are?”
Administration. We are restricted!
Finally, if you restrict something from us, we will desire it more. If you take something from us, we will desire it more. If you take away our learning, we will fight to find a way to get what we want.
How you may ask? VPNs.
With a simple click, we have access to everything. Movies, Games, Youtube videos, everything. Although, I understand that sometimes restrictions are required on school internet. I understand that it is inappropriate for us to be searching for unregulated content during school hours and that we should not be distracted in class to play games or watch movies. I understand all these issues, regulations and laws.
However, what I absolutely do not understand is the point of restricting access in the first place? If most of us can circumvent them, why impose restrictions?
That too, the act of restriction is a well known psychological aspect which is proven to be ineffective. An example in the Washington Post says, If you tell someone, do not drink sodas they are unhealthy for you; the person will end up trying a soda. As a teenager, our brain is wired in the sense that our impulsivity will take over to be curious enough and try a soda. This is exactly how web restrictions work. You, the restrictors, restrict a website; we, students, use a VPN and bypass.
There is a line, a line to restricting websites that our school should be a foot behind. But here, at ISKL, we have lunged miles past that line. As students, we must fight, fight for our rights, fight for the benefit of our learning that restrictions are abolished. As the administration, you should realize that restriction is ineffective. If you want your students to learn, give them the opportunity to learn.
Restrictions must be restricted.
- Crook, C., Fisher, T., Graber, R., Harrison, C., & Lewin, C. (2008). Implementing Web 2.0 in secondary schools: Impacts, barriers and issues.
- Luckin, Rosemary, et al. “Do Web 2.0 Tools Really Open the Door to Learning? Practices, Perceptions and Profiles of 11–16‐Year‐Old Students.” Learning, Media and Technology, vol. 34, no. 2, 2009, pp. 87–104., doi:10.1080/17439880902921949.
- Poff, Jon-Michael. “Stop Blocking Online Content.” Edutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation, 3 Dec. 2008, http://www.edutopia.org/online-access-internet-blocking-filtering.
- Seidenberg, Casey. “Banning Soda, Sugary Cereal or Ice Cream for Your Kids May Not Be the Best Strategy.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 3 Jan. 2018,
- Sutton, Lynn Sorensen. Access Denied: How Internet Filters Impact Student Learning in High Schools. Cambria Press, 2006.