Facebook Block

Josh Martin Staff Writer  This year, Latin’s IT department has blocked certain websites in an attempt to discourage students from using laptops during class for non-school related purposes. For most students, the biggest change is the blocking of Facebook, every student’s best friend/favorite time waster. As a student with access to a laptop during most of my classes, discovering that Facebook had been blocked was not a happy moment for me. When this realization struck me in second period Physics class on the first day of school, I let out an audible “Oh $#!†” and jokingly thought to myself “what am I going to do this year.” Many other students are outraged, most realizing that it is a little contradictory that Latin is making a big push for students to get information about scheduling and other things through the Roman Gov group, which all students are encouraged to join. While obviously the school does not want students sending Facebook messages or posting photos from a Saturday night party in class, many students rely on Facebook to provide vital scheduling information in between classes, particularly on “S” days. A handful of students have found a loophole around the block by using the LatinAuth wifi network, but for others, trying to get access to this network, which requires a password, is baffling. Facebook, however, is not the only website that is blocked. I tried to go to a domain on Albinoblacksheep.com because there is a game that I like called “Run,” which I recommend to everyone. It’s an awesome game. Now, the websites that are blocked aren’t simply blocked, the screen displays a one-word explanation of why students are prohibited from entering. When you try to go on Facebook, the explanation simply says “Exception.” On the other hand, if you try to enter Albinoblacksheep.com, the word amusingly is “Distasteful,” which, if you have gone on albinoblacksheep to do anything other than to play “Run” you know, it totally is. While Facebook is forbidden for students, there are many other options for bored students. Twitter is unblocked (Somehow the IT department decided Facebook is taboo but Twitter is not), as is ESPN, Yahoo Sports, CBS sports, and Bleacher Report for sports lovers. Fantasy players on all major websites across the school are rejoicing that they can still read recent injury reports and make last-minute lineup changes and waiver wire pickups in class. My expectation is that the school will find the harsh reality that stiffened browsing is not effective because the people who want to goof off during class are either going to find ways around the block or are going to use alternative websites. “The problem with Facebook, and the other sites that you cite, is that they do not distract the kid who is on them, but they distract others as well.  I cannot count the number of times that I have watched one student seemingly ‘taking notes’ only to have two or three of his neighbors suddenly start looking intently at his screen.  Fantasy football is better than class.  So, I simply forbid laptops in my classroom unless the students are doing some kind of research or writing” claimed an upper school teacher. The only way the school could prevent slackers from surfing during class would be to eliminate laptops, or eliminate wireless Internet use from the school entirely. These options are both impractical, as students need the Internet to access Romanet, e-mail, as well as do necessary research for papers and projects. In the end, I believe the best decision the school could make is to give complete freedom in regards to internet usage and allow the distracted students to pay a price for their disregard to rules when semester grades come in lower due to their lack of attention. People who constantly use laptops in class as an alternative to schoolwork are hurting their own classroom experience as well as others who get sucked into whatever page they are doing. Nonetheless, if the school believes that blocking websites will put a stop to this pattern; it is foolish.]]>