Blair students upset over restrictions on Instagram and Snapchat
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) restricted WiFi in schools so that students can no longer access social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat, starting this 2016-2017 school year.
Students' misuse of phones has been a problem over the past years for MCPS. Students have easy access to distracting games and apps on their phones. To get around this issue, MCPS has tried to integrate phones into the classroom, so that they are used for academic purposes only. This new WiFi restriction is to further the idea that phones in the classroom are only for learning.
Students, however, have found ways around this new rule, by using an app called Virtual Private Network (VPN). This free app connects phones to an outside source and then to a local WiFi,which privatizes and secures networks.
Junior Darian Price who has the app likes it because it gets him around the wifi restrictions easily and it's free. "There are rumors though that it could hack your personal info, but I don't believe it. Everyone has it," he said. Many Blazers have the app and do not worry about hacks or viruses.
Other students use their own cellular data to get around the restrictions so that don't have to log into the school WiFi. Instead, they use their own personal data, which can be expensive. "It's really extra, and the money racks up after a while," junior Grace Hoggarth said.
Student reactions have been negative towards the new WiFi rules. The ban is "ridiculous and rude" according to sophomore Claudia Young. Junior Isabel Fenton, who agrees with Young, and the restrictions are unnecessary. "The WiFi barely works as it is, and now they are forcing us to use our data, which is racking up our bills. I assume parents are not happy about that," she said.
Students also believe that the new is interfering with their free time in between classes and at lunch. "We are allowed to use our phones in the hallways and during lunch and now we don't have WiFi. We should be allowed to have social media when we are allowed to have our phones out," junior Margot Bloch said.
Many Blazers do not think it is an effective way to get students focused, and believe the restrictions are unnecessary and unhelpful. "MCPS needs a better way to get us engaged in the classroom," Fenton said.
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