Our boys will use the Internet well beyond their stay at Allen-Stevenson. Since our goal is to educate, we believe it is important to help boys understand and move skillfully through the challenges they will encounter as they begin using Internet technology regularly. Learning to stay safe when searching or landing on questionable websites, to manage online time wisely and, in general, to maintain a high level of digital fluency, will prepare boys for the future.
Accordingly, we do not use Internet filtering at Allen-Stevenson. There are several reasons. (1) Software filtering is not precise. To believe it is can lead to a false sense of security and a degree of unwarranted complacency. We prefer to educate students to become reliably aware when online. (2) Very often, filtering eliminates information that is useful and, at times, educationally necessary. Many important websites may be blocked. (3) Boys are curious and adventurous. Filtering may lead boys to seek a work-around by trying to access forbidden information. (4) Boys use the Internet away from school and we think it important to teach at school how to react intelligently to all of what they encounter outside. Overall, we believe filtering can hinder a teacher’s ability to effectively teach - it can create obstacles in learning that are needed for high school, college, and life beyond.
For these reasons, we prefer to teach appropriate online behavior. This includes methods for avoiding problems, or circumventing them should they arise. We believe this is part of being a good digital citizen, and that it will help equip boys with what they need going forward in both their educational and professional endeavors.