Zeeland High School students received iPads at the beginning of the school year. More Zeeland Public Schools students will receive iPads later this school year. The iPads provide students with another valuable learning tool, but it also creates safety concerns.
Should Zeeland Public Schools be doing more to restrict the use of the iPads when students bring them home by restricting inappropriate websites?
Photographer and studio owner David DeJonge says he sees the iPads as an advanced, varied and exciting learning tool but is concerned about a lack of safety precautions. He has children enrolled at the middle school level, who will receive the technology within the year.
When used at school, the iPads are part of a network with content filter that restricts distracting or inappropriate sites. At home, the iPads do not have any automatic restrictions implemented by the district.
DeJonge is arguing the lack of protection may be in violation of the federal Child Internet Protection Act, or CIPA. The act mandates restrictions centered on protecting children must be implemented in schools. It is not clear if CIPA applies to public devices that are taken home by students.
Zeeland Public Schools, and all schools, restrict websites and protect students when students are at school. Does their responsibility end when students take their iPads home? That’s a tough question. Parents are responsible for the computer use of their children at home, but if that computer is provided and required by the school district should the school district share that responsibility?
I think the responsibility is on the parents, but if parents require help and/or additional software to successfully restrict the iPads the school district should be ready to provide both.
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