I get several requests a day to unblock a website. For those that do have an educational value I unblock them as soon as I can. Some have no educational value and do not get unblocked.
Why are sites filtered? Congress passed the Child Online Protection Act, which became effective in April of 2000. To stay eligible for federal funds, school districts must filter Internet access for students.
Here are a couple of the most requested sites to be unblocked:

MySpace.com: The largest personals site on the Internet, is also one of the most dangerous. Students are being denied access to colleges, or not getting jobs, based on what they have placed online in MySpace. For example:

Just ask 27-year-old Colleen Kluttz. Type the freelance television producer’s name into Google and the second item that comes up is her popular My Space profile. This online social network has become an outpost for photographic and written self-expression, but it’s not always an asset in landing a job. “A friend of mine posted a picture of me on My Space with my eyes half closed and a caption that suggests I’ve smoked something illegal,” says Kluttz.

While the caption was a joke, Kluttz now wonders whether the past two employers she interviewed with thought it was so funny. Both expressed interest in hiring Kluttz, but at the 11th hour went with someone else. “As a freelancer, I’m constantly on the lookout for the next best opportunity, but I haven’t been having much luck recently,” Kluttz explains. “I really haven’t been concerned that people are Googling me, but now that I’m doing the math, it seems like this is definitely going to be a constant concern from this day forward.”

It’s also been used to discipline students for behavior:

Monroe High School has turned over harassment complaints and photos of underage drinking taken from the sites to the police.

Remember, anything you post on MySpace/Xanga/etc. can come back to haunt you. Even if you have deleted it from MySpace it is still in Google and maybe even the WayBackMachine.org. Anything a student posts on the Internet should be assumed to be public and will be read by parents, grandparents, college recruiters, coaches, employers, etc.
AIM/Yahoo Messenger/MSN Messenger/etc: The instant messaging sites have no educational and are subsequently blocked.
Gaming sites: A lot of gaming sites are blocked, mainly because of traffic issues. We only have so much bandwidth for our Internet connection. When students are playing games, they are using bandwidth. This bandwidth use may make it slow or impossible for another student to legitimately use the Internet.
One guideline that is followed is if it is a popular site but of no educational value, it will be blocked to save bandwidth. Kenton City Schools has 600 computers that are capable of going online. They must all remain good citizens and not to hog more than their fair share of bandwidth.

6 thoughts on “Argh! Why is MySpace blocked!

  1. But the site takes up bandwidth. Which means it hurts other users of the network when you are playing. If we had unlimited bandwidth then it would be less of a problem, but since we have to deal with limitations in the real world, sites have to be limited also. It has nothing to do whether the site is appropriate or not.

  2. I would like to support the tech comment regarding the use of bandwidth. There are certain programs that we use daily in our jobs here at school that cannot be accessed during certain hours of the day due to the extremely heavy Internet traffic. We can access the programs to make changes, but have to wait 3-4 hours to view that change online. The program is supposed to allow immediate viewing of these changes, but we cannot do that with the heavy Internet traffic at specific times during the day. I hope this helps students understand why there are limitations to the bandwidth on the access we have through the school network and how overloading can actually interfere with the performance of our jobs. Our solution, of course, to this problem is to wait until later to check the changes, but this slows down our work considerably. Thanks for reading!

  3. well i think wat u did was awsome. cause i know i canjust look at this at my house and im glad you are trying to protect me and thankyou

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