2011

In an extension of the observance of Banned Books Week, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) designated Wednesday, September 28, 2011, as the first annual Banned Websites Awareness Day. By doing so, it's AASL's hope to bring attention to the overly aggressive filtering of educational and social websites used by students and educators.

"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." Read more from AASL

Many schools filter far beyond the requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act, because they wish to protect students,” explains Carl Harvey, AASL president. “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.”

According to a recent study undertaken by a team of researchers from the University of Southern California and the University of California, Berkeley, and funded by the MacArthur Foundation, today’s learners are using online media not just as social tools, but are engaging in peer-based, self-directed learning. Through digital media, youths are discovering a degree of freedom and self-paced learning that they may not be finding in a traditional classroom setting." Read more from American Libraries