Problems for Students Using Net and Possible Solutions

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Security is the most serious problem for students using Net

Internet access in classrooms spark fear of parents and some teachers. They are afraid that evils on Net may do harm to their kids. It is true that on Net there are a lot of inappropriate materials for kids. As Internet is so boundless, to bring everything on it under control is a much more difficult task than anything else human beings have ever done before. So what shall people do to protect students from materials not suitable for them?

Possible solutions for students using Net

Blocking software

Blocking software is designed to filter evil thoughts on the Net. Their mission is to provide safe information for schools which are connected to Internet. However, while fulfilling their missions, they also filter materials which are far from evil. This causes great inconvenience to educators who use Net for resources. This problem is best expressed by Jonathan Wallace (creator of "An Auschwitz Alphabet"):"Blocking software blocks too much and too little simultaneously." Blocking software, like the idea to bring Internet connection to classrooms, has as many advocates as opponents.

Education and supervision are more important

Blocking software alone cannot keep kids away from objectionable materials on the Net. They can filter the information accessible to students. But what if someone sends inappropriate materials to kids via E-mail.

For this reason, it is important for schools to develop clear policies to educate kids about what they should stay away from and why. Rules should be established and consequences for breaking them made clear. Many schools have developed "rules of the road" that are discussed with students before they go online. Education is necessary.

Supervision is the key. Karen Christoff, a teacher using Internet to teach American literature at Indianapolis' Northwest High School, says, "All I have to do is walk over there and push a button and turn the machine off. That, I think, is the key: supervision, at home as well as at the school." There is a tip to keep your students or kids safe on the Internet: Never let them surf alone and let them use only moderated mailing-list instead of free E-mail. By taking some precautions and monitoring students' online activities, parents and educators can minimize the chances that kids see inappropriate content on the Net.

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Xiaoli Liu
College of Journalism and Communications