3 ways internet filtering inhibits learning

New report examines filtering issues and offers 4 recommendations

internet-filteringGrowing up in the digital age means that students have an infinite amount of information available through the internet, but it also means learning reasonable and safe behavior while online.

Federal regulations such as the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which requires schools and libraries that receive federal funds to install filtering software in an attempt to keep users from accessing online content deemed harmful for obscene, have in recent years been the subject of heated debates between those advocating for unfiltered internet access in schools and libraries and those who prefer a more secure learning style for younger students.

Filtering also raises issues for adults using public and school libraries. Many school libraries open up to the community after regular school hours, but filtering software aimed at young students may keep adults from accessing valid websites they need for research or personal information.

“This overreach stems from misinterpretations of the law, different perceptions of how to filter, and limitations of internet filtering software. The net result is over-filtering that blocks access to legitimate educational resources while often failing to block the images proscribed by the law,” according to Fencing Out Knowledge: Impacts of the Children’s Internet Protection Act 10 Years Later.

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Laura Ascione

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