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Roadblocks: Not Literally, But Digitally

Henley T., Staff Writer

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To many, middle school is the stepping stone to responsibility. With responsibility comes privileges and freedoms that weren’t available before. Some argue that middle schoolers deserve more freedom when it comes to blocked apps on computers.

Photo by Henley T. This is a familiar screen for students in the middle school.

“Well, I mean sometimes Netflix is blocked during the day. There are websites that are blocked for research. Also, YouTube has a lot of videos that are blocked for research. I could understand why they’re blocked. Bad things can show up, but I think that we’re smart enough to not go there,” said Claire B., a seventh grade girl.

Something that seems to frustrate middle schoolers is that in high school, very few websites and apps are off-limits.It’s unfair that my brother who’s in high school gets these apps. I mean, just because Will’s older doesn’t mean that he is more responsible. If anything, they should just be blocked until 3:30,” said Thomas E., an eighth grade boy.

Other students understand the logic and don’t blame Westminster. Nyambura, a seventh grade girl, said, “There aren’t many that I would change. I think they are blocked because they don’t want students getting distracted during classes.”

“I understand that they want everyone to be safe and that viruses can spread, or they don’t want us to get distracted, but it’s really annoying that Instagram and snapchat are blocked on my computer,” said Avery M., a seventh grade girl.

The main off-limit apps that students tend to fuss about are Spotify and Netflix. Having said that, iMessages, FaceTime, all games, YouTube, and Hulu are blocked as well.

Photo by Henley T. Students are working, but obstacles often get in the way.

“Sometimes my mom isn’t on her email to respond right away, so I don’t really have a way to communicate with her because iMessages is blocked on my computer. And because I play soccer, practice times and locations always change, so I don’t know what the deal is. I might have a dentist appointment, and I don’t have a way to let her know if I’m going to be late from a class,” said Kathleen H., an eighth grade girl.

Some students are very frustrated. Owen O., a seventh grade boy, said, “I wish Netflix was unblocked because then I could watch The Office; I don’t get why it’s off-limits.”

Others like Sage G. are more understanding. She said, “I guess it’s blocked to make sure kids are doing what they are supposed to be doing and getting the right education that they need.”

Heather Karvis, Dean of Students, is very open-minded about requests to unblock websites and apps. “If someone has concerns about restrictions, they can tell a teacher who can come to me. We’ll usually have IT check it out, and if they think it’s okay, then they’ll consider unblocking it.”  

Netflix seems to be a concern, and she addressed that matter. She said, “We filter content, but if your parents want to allow your streaming ability at a certain time, then they can come to IT.”

Even though some apps may bring conflict to classrooms, others may deserve a second look.


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The news site of The Westminster Schools
Roadblocks: Not Literally, But Digitally