BBC NEWS | Education | Pupils can beat safe net filters: "Pupils are using special websites to hack out of their school computer network while in the classroom. They then access social networking sites and even hardcore pornography.
On one school's computer it was enough to type the word 'naughty' into the internet browser and hit return."
Another shock horror... no great surprise, story from the BBC News Education pages. There seems to be an attitude that if you block something that a) you are then safe and need not worry and b) no-one would ever think to try to break out of that environment. I remember hearing Randy Pausch's last lecture just over a year ago and the following quote stuck in my head:
"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!"
It's a fabulous quote to remind us that blocking something is sometimes what motivates those with creativity and resourcefulness. Blocked sites in China and people seek out how to circumvent those blocks. A whole country seeking to implement a filter on certain 'harmful' sites and I bet you that it'll be broken within hours (minutes?) of being put in place. People restricted from putting content on official sites from educational institutions instead seek to innovate elsewhere. VLEs exchanged for personal learning environments in the name of choice and flexibility.
Why do we persist to think that the answer is always in more and more control? Clamp down and that's it. Problem solved.
Brick walls are a challenge. A wonderful, juicy challenge. The bigger the wall, the better the challenge.
Necessity is the mother of circumvention.