I’m just wondering: how many people who adamantly oppose book censorship actually tolerate the ways in which the web is censored for students and teachers (and of course, so many others)? Perhaps it isn’t fair to make this comparison, but I’m playing with doing exactly that. What do you think?



  1. Catherine Leach Reply

    Hi Angela,

    I have mixed feelings about this. I have certainly been annoyed when a website I want to use in school is blocked. For example, I was doing some research on “Moby Dick” and I was blocked because the computer thought I was searching for pornography. I was able to get around the block by using “Melville” as an alternate search term, but still… I feel that books should not be censored and that freedom of speech should be protected, even when people (or books) promote ideas that I do not agree with. I think that the difference between censoring a book and censoring the internet is the immediacy of the effects of the medium. If a student is reading a book that exposes him/her to a topic that might not be age appropriate or the like, there is time to discuss the content with the student and make sure that they understand contexts and so on. The internet is so immediate that a student might be exposed to a disturbing image or unsavory people who might set up a meeting in just moments. I am thinking of some scary “Dateline” episodes… Without some kind of censorship, a teacher has very little control about who or what kids are exposed to in a classroom. I have been lucky enough that when I find a site, like Glogster, that I feel will have academic merit, that my webmasters have been willing to unblock it so that my students can use it. I know not every district is willing to do that. I think that most students would use technology appropriately, but the gravity of the consequences for those who don’t merits some kind of “big brother”.

  2. Hi Catherine! I hope your summer is going well, despite the dreariness of it all. Thanks for playing along here. Hmmm…I wonder if we delude ourselves a bit around the immediacy issue. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that there is a significant one. However, I also think that kids have access to and are exposed to content we might question all the time once they step outside of our classrooms. They are also exposed to people and situations and media bombardment that is scary as well. I’m even thinking of the number of sexual predators who live in my neighborhood and the immediacy of that sort of danger. All of these things are very real and yet, our approach in preparing kids to keep themselves safe in light of them is very different. Most of us don’t lock our kids in the house, forbid television or magazine reading, or stop them from going to school or church (where, incidentally, there have been higher numbers of these sorts of crimes reported, I’d venture to guess). Wouldn’t it make more sense to help students learn how to navigate this world rather than keep them in the dark? Age old question, I know…..

  3. Catherine Leach Reply


    This week’s Edutopia addresses this very issue!


    This Week’s Feature: Safety Net
    How to Talk About Life Online
    Teacher tips for keeping students safe on the Internet.

    How Do You Teach Your Kids to Be Safe Online?
    Join the discussion about Internet safety.

    Digital Generation Parents Share Their Wisdom
    A parental perspective on raising children in the digital age.

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