Is Securly too Secure?

Looks like this page isn’t allowed

Is Securly too Secure?

Daniel, Reporter

You start school research, you go on a website for information, and then suddenly BOOM! You are transferred on the commonly known site “Looks like this page isn’t allowed” otherwise known as Securly. You want to sneak on an inappropriate website or a game, and just as you expected, it’s blocked. Only some of the games or websites that students aren’t supposed to be on aren’t blocked!


As you might already know, Securly is made to block different video games and inappropriate websites. “I think Securly is a platform which blocks sites which may be inappropriate/dangerous to students in the Redwood City School District. However, I do think that Securly is sometimes too aggressive in the sites it blocks, because there have been many times which I want to visit a site, which I have visited before and know is trustworthy, yet it is blocked on school ChromeBooks by Securly.” says a 6th grader.


Dominic from 8th grade says, “I think the overall intention of Securly is an honorable one, and it is moderately effective in its pursuits. However it will often limit informational and educational resources that it deems appropriate. Unfortunately, many of these sources are not inappropriate or, if they are, they are important sources necessary for children to learn and grow. For instance, I attempted to search up a sperm whale skeleton, but since that was declared inappropriate, it was blocked by Securly. If someone was able to develop a program that could be easily implemented and it had a better method of determining a site’s importance for education, that would be very useful.” 


The majority of students interviewed said that “It sucks” or “I hate it” for one or numerous reasons. One of the most frequent reasons was that Securly blocked their research information. 


One 4th grader says, “It blocked me when I clicked a link for research about chocolate. CHOCOLATE! This system is rigged. Sometimes Securly doesn’t even work. I went on a website for research, and I saw an inappropriate ad and picture on a website.” But the negative comments don’t come only from people from elementary school. Ariane, a 7th grader says, “Securly is really annoying and it is constantly blocking things. Like if I need to look something up quickly and I find a link with a good answer that seems trustable and I click it this page appears [Securly page] and it is SOOOO annoying. I wish we didn’t have it.”


It is seen that most people have encountered this problem, that Securly blocks an educational website, or search page, only 2-3 times. But that is only 27% of the people we interviewed. Not that far away, 23% of the students say that they constantly encountered this problem, and 21% say that they did not constantly have this problem, but they did have it over 10 times. 


Some people think that Securly should be on only at school. “I think that it’s ok or it’s good but it is not the best, it’s good that it’s keeping kids under control on the chromebooks, but I feel like if they turn it off [Securly] when you are at home and your parents do let you use your school computer, then you should be able to use for purpose that just to have fun,” says a 4th grader, Jackie. 


Surprisingly, half of the people we interviewed said that from a scale of 1-10 Securly does its job pretty well, from 8-10. But even with that amount of people considering Securly doing its job really well, 20 people say Securly does its job terribly. 


An 8th grader Ilana says, “There are many games that aren’t protected by Securly, so that sort of defeats the purpose. Not to mention, I know several people who have managed to override security measures, which once again defeats the purpose.” She also says, “I think Securly is definitely necessary in some circumstances, but an overwhelming amount of things that are “blocked” shouldn’t be. For example, I have learned about certain hate groups during social studies for several years, notably the Klu Klux Klan. Of course this organization isn’t appropriate in any setting, but I was never able to learn anything about it or conduct any research on it since it was blocked by Securly. This may not have been the best example, but in general Securly blocks many things that are crucial to certain research projects.”


Some feel that older grades are supposed to have a less strict Securly block. One 8th grader says, “I think that Securly is a nuisance. It is not very effective and the repetitiveness of constantly bypassing it is annoying. I appreciate the usefulness of Securly for the younger grades but for us 8th graders we should get more freedom with our chromebooks.”


There are definitely many flaws in the way Securly works but so far it is a really good app, blocking many things and trying its best. 4th grader Jackson says, “Sometimes it is very strict, and it does a good job stopping people from playing games in class. But I have still seen a few unblocked game websites, and we are still able to play games. Some programs make their way around technically being games like Scratch, but Tech 101 (my enrichment) uses it so you can’t really block it. Also sometimes Securly is too strict, I remember early in 4th grade I was going to listen to one of my favorite music channels while doing homework on YouTube (Dub-step Gutter) but it blocked the page even though it was simply music. This are my opinions and facts about Securly.”