Banned Websites Awareness Day Background

Usually the public thinks of censorship in relation to books, however there is a growing censorship issue in schools and school libraries – overly restrictive filtering of educational websites reaching far beyond the requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Students, teachers, and school librarians in many schools are frustrated daily when they discover legitimate educational websites blocked by filtering software installed by their school.  

Filtering websites does the next generation of digital citizens a disservice.  Students must develop skills to evaluate information from all types of sources in multiple formats, including the Internet. Relying solely on filters does not teach young citizens how to be savvy searchers or how to evaluate the accuracy of information.

Over extensive filtering also extends to the use of online social networking sites such as FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogger, etc. In order to make school more relevant to students and enhance their learning experiences, educators need to be able to incorporate those same social interactions that are successful outside of school into authentic assignments in the school setting.  Unfortunately, filters implemented by school districts also block many of the social networking sites.