Facebook, Pandora Blocked

For the past 15 years that La Grande School District has had access to the internet, LGSD has maintained an open policy about access to the Internet. With the exception of CIPA (Children's Internet Protection Act) requirements to block certain kinds of web access (porn, violence, hate, weapons, etc.) most websites have been accessible to users of the La Grande School District network. Staff and students alike are required to sign Acceptable Use Agreements in order to have access to the network. 

This week, however, the decision has been made to block certain Social Media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pandora. The graph to the right shows the amount of traffic attempting to get to facebook YESTERDAY! The numbers underlying the graph represent 9731 blocked attempts to get to facebook yesterday (March 14,2013).

The issue with Pandora is simply a matter of bandwidth. Streaming audio is a large bandwidth consumer. To prove this to yourself, stream Pandora on your own 3G or 4G phone connection and be ready to see your data plan exceed the ability of your pocketbook (unless you have an unlimited data plan). While it is understandable that both staff and students enjoy "free" internet radio, the main purpose of the school's network is to provide access to educational resources. If the use of Internet radio diminishes the ability to use the network for schoolwork, then it is evident that a change is in order. The graph below represents the difference in the amount of bandwidth used by Pandora, vs. the amount used by accessing Facebook in the timeframe March 1 - March 13. 278,531 requests to access Facebook vs. 97,503 Pandora requests. As one can see from this data, even though there is a lot more apparent traffic to Facebook, Pandora is the bandwidth hog. Who knew, or even thought about all this?

Pandora-Facebook Page Access Count

While access to the internet should be a big part of an education today, irresponsible use of the network and these social media sites that have questionable educational benefit, may have to be removed. Network access is a privilege to be earned, not an entitlement right to be misused. Students unable to monitor their behavior with these tools force the district to remove access.

The consensus has been that students have been unable to be responsible users of the network access to such sites. Consequently, the LHS wifi network has been modified to remove access to student devices. 

What are your thoughts about these actions? Please contribute to the conversation about network access and Internet Blocking by filling out the form below. Or you can email facebook@lagrandesd.org