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Survey: School web filtering can impede learning

Most content-blocking decisions rest at the district level; most requests to unblock sites take 1-2 days

Survey: School web filtering can impede learning

Many survey respondents said web filtering can curb learning’s social potential.

More and more students are bringing personal mobile devices to school, but a new survey from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) finds that internet filtering often prevents students from taking advantage of learning’s social potential.

School librarians report that web filtering programs have had varied effects in their schools and on school library programs. Fifty-two percent said internet filters have impeded student research when topics or keyword searches are filtered. Half said web filtering has decreased the number of potential distractions, while 42 percent said it discounts social aspects of learning.

Roughly one-third said internet filtering has decreased the need for direct supervision, 25 percent said it has prevented continued collaboration outside of face-to-face opportunities, and 23 percent said web filtering allows research curriculum to yield more relevant results.

Many schools let students bring and use their mobile devices, and roughly half of survey respondents said their school has a filtering mechanism in place to control content that students view on their devices.

Of those that do have filtering in place for student devices, 48 percent implement an accompanying acceptable use policy and 47 percent make students log on through school networks. Twenty-nine percent do not allow internet connectivity on personal devices, and 28 percent limit their use to a classroom teacher’s discretion.

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