New Google filter helps administration crack down on inappropriate Chromebook use

By Noah Cagle
News Editor

Over winter break of the 2017-2018 school year, the WCHS administration installed a new content filter to the Chromebook software. The new filter will allow administration to locate and act on inappropriate content found on students’ emails and Google Drive accounts.

The new content filter is set to maintain school appropriate content in students’ emails and Google Drive. According to WCHS Principal Tom Zobel, the middle school has been using the same filter throughout the 2017-2018 school year and because of that, high school administrators decided to implement it into their system.

Zobel says that administration had numerous conversations throughout the semester about the software after seeing the content being filtered out of CPMS’s Chromebooks.

“We would go into classrooms or into lunch and see students doing things on their computer that they shouldn’t be doing at school, such as gaming and watching YouTube videos and all that crazy stuff. We decided to activate the filter to see what’s out there, and boy, we learned a lot!” Zobel said.

Administration was holding back on disciplinary action for inappropriate Google Account use to give students a chance to get rid of their online subscriptions. Zobel said that after students are fully aware of the content filter and after announcements are made and recognized, administration will be enforcing harsher disciplinary actions for content items coming through.

“We haven’t taken virtually any action based on what we’ve seen in the Google filter. We’re still doing the GoGuardian stuff for inappropriate content, but we haven’t done anything with the Google filter. Occasionally we will send an email out to the offending student and say, ‘hey, this isn’t appropriate content to be used for your school email’ but for the most part, we’re just watching what kinds of flags we get,” Zobel said. “Once we start making the announcements to educate students and say, ‘hey, these are the things we are seeing that are not acceptable, you need to clean this out of your email folder,’ then we can start taking actions.”

Zobel believes that using technology for education is teaching students to live in a computer-based world and manage the difference between business-based accounts and personal accounts is important.

“As we learn to live in the digital world, this is the world that students are going to face once they leave high school. Whether they go to college, many colleges are paperless now, where everything is done on the computer. Workplaces are going more paperless. Even in a school setting like this, there are a lot of paperless things that we do now that five, six, seven, eight years ago it was all paper, duplicates and triplicates,” Zobel said.

According to Zobel, students should not be using their Google accounts for online content such as gaming or YouTube videos.

WCHS sophomore Jacob Caldwell says that he uses his Chromebook daily, as many of his teachers aim to take advantage of Chromebooks.

“I use my Chromebook every single day as do all students. I use it for things that have been assigned in class as well as using it at home to complete homework,” Caldwell explained. “A good amount of teachers will use the Chromebooks to give an easier way to assign tasks and turn them in. They will also use classroom to post important announcements and homework assignments.”

As humanity transitions to digital-based business management, schools and workplaces are going by paperless means. Administration may use software to find inappropriate content in their systems.

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