Written and Edited By Olivia Battles
Yep. That’s right. You read the title correctly. Although, it’s not as bad as it looks. Rest assured the NRA has not figured out how to hack into our children’s iPads and steal their juicy junior high gossip, but their gun ownership surveys have shown up on 146 student iPads in Santa Barbara Junior High. Is that any better though?
We all know that school IPads have to block certain content, and we all know the infamous loopholes, but how could this happen? You would think there are filters to block this sort of content and prohibit this from slipping through.
Adults would always undermine my opinion when I was younger, saying that I couldn’t have an opinion unless it was my parents. Hopefully, now we can all agree that children can have opinions, but if we’re being honest they can be easily swayed. Is the NRA taking advantage of that, or is it just a fluke that we need to get to the bottom of?
It’s ironic how the trailer for It’s A Wonderful Life is restricted but an NRA Gun Ownership survey managed to slip through. When I talked to one of our technical directors, Mrs. Chilton, I wanted to find out the criteria for content that has to be restricted.
With Mrs. Chilton’s assistance, I was promptly put into contact with the SBUnified ETS Support and I received a very helpful response from Tod Ryckman.
“We have the highest rated firewalls in the industry,” replied Tod Ryckman, “we use the strictest content filtering settings available. Unfortunately, no filter or firewall is capable of stopping everything. This fact is recognized by both the Federal and State law and is why the Children’s Internet Protection
Act (CIPA) requires schools and libraries to employ a best-effort attempt but does not require perfection.”
Basically, Web crawlers (spiders) will look for certain strings of characters that determine the content of the webpage, then they send what they found to a categorized index. The content filters are designed to block blatantly inappropriate content, but unfortunately, since hundreds of thousands of webpages are added and deleted from the internet everyday things can slip through without being indexed. It is also very possible for appropriate websites to be flagged as inappropriate.
Honestly, I don’t even think we’ve scratched the surface on this topic, so for that reason, I will be investigating further incidents that have occurred.