Many CB students wonder why apps like Spotify and Instagram are blocked. Is it to keep students on task in class and encourage productive learning? Or is it just another way that CB restricts students? The Talon spoke with systems engineers Mr. Jesse Ball, a CB staff member for 12 years, and Mr. Khari Reichling, […]
Many CB students wonder why apps like Spotify and Instagram are blocked. Is it to keep students on task in class and encourage productive learning? Or is it just another way that CB restricts students? The Talon spoke with systems engineers Mr. Jesse Ball, a CB staff member for 12 years, and Mr. Khari Reichling, a new addition to the CB staff, to further understand the method behind the media blocking madness.
Contrary to popular student belief, media platforms such as Spotify are blocked due to the fact that they slow down the network that allows students to access academic media.
“Streaming media is blocked because of a bandwidth issue that we were running into because a lot of devices were on the network,” Mr. Ball says.
The second explanation for social media and Spotify being blocked is to comply with CIPA, the Children Internet Protection Act, which is put in place by the federal government.
“[CIPA] puts in place some of the rules that we have to follow to protect children on the internet,” Mr. Ball explains. These rules also contribute to an increasing effort to prevent bullying. “[Social media] is where a lot of bullying goes on,” Mr. Reichling added.
In an attempt to work around CB’s media restrictions, students often resort to using a Virtual Private Network to jam out to their favorite tunes or scroll through their Instagram feeds. VPNs enable organizations to send data between two computers across the Internet in a manner that emulates the properties of a point-to-point private link. However, Mr. Reichling and Mr. Ball encourage students to refrain from giving into the temptation of using a VPN. VPNs not only go against CB’s student handbook agreement, but they also pose a threat to the safety of an individual’s personal information because VPNs forward your internet traffic without encrypting it, making all personal data easy to read.
“Free VPNs are not the safest method of protecting yourself online because [the VPN] will sell all of your information,” Mr. Ball says.
There is a common school-wide misconception that the systems managers spy on what students are doing on their iPads. To clear the air about this frequently suggested idea, we asked the CB system’s engineers if they ever spy on what students are doing. Mr. Ball promptly replied, saying, “no, its not that at all” with a laugh.
“We don’t have the capability or time to investigate what you are doing,” he says.
“We are more here to keep you guys function and working, not spy, track, or be your parents” Mr. Reichling says blithely.
With safety of paramount importance here at CB, restrictions are implemented in order to insure the safety of students. Knowledgeable and dedicated staff members such as Mr. Ball and Mr. Reichling aid CB in encouraging productive learning and maintaining a safe space for students to work using technology.