Since the creation of the network, there has been a debate in the U.S. about the appropriateness of access to free Internet in mainstream schools. As early as 2000, the United States passed the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which provides for the blocking of certain content.
At the time, the law was controversial because filtering tools were rather rude and often restricted access not only to banned sites, but also to certain educational information. In addition, opponents of the Law made such arguments as creation of social inequality between schoolchildren (not everyone had access to the Internet at home at that time), lack of opportunity to teach children to allocate useful content, etc.
Today, content filtering is carried out by intelligent filters, which provide a flexible approach to providing access to information, including the possibility of age limits and other criteria. Filtering systems can be controlled remotely and customized according to the specified parameters.
Content filtering is carried out through several basic methods:
- Blacklist. Prohibited content and sites that carry a risk of virus infection are combined into a special list. Any request is checked for presence in these lists and at reception of the positive answer, access to a requested portal is forbidden.
- Filters by content category. Limit access to resources containing information of pornographic, racist and other prohibited subjects that do not provide educational value.
- Content filtering by keywords. This includes the creation of a list of keywords and phrases, the use of which in a certain amount is the reason for restricting access to the site. To avoid the filtering of sites with useful content because of the so-called algorithmic risk, a white list of websites is created.
In any case, the vast majority of schools in the United States, according to CIPA, filter the content provided to students, which is protested by a certain category of the public. For example, the Association of School Librarians in the United States has expressed the view that young people should learn to select useful information for themselves, which will help to shape critical thinking while prohibitions will not do any good.
The U.S. students should be given credit. While there is debate about the Internet’s participation in the educational process and the need to block banned content, they have found an easy way to bypass the blocking. We are talking about proxy servers. The use of proxies provides access to sites that bypass the ban.