Wi-Fi access to Netflix, Instagram and Snapchat blocked in Toronto District schools...but will it help?
We all know how distracting social networks can be at school. And, if a simple Snapchat update can make a mess in the learning process, as happened in a Kansas school a few years ago, what else could go wrong when we also add Netflix, Instagram, and other apps, in which today's teenagers spend a solid amount of time?
Some of the schools in Toronto District have discovered one of the possible answers to this question: heavy usage of social media apps can simply block the school network. This is the reason why the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has shut down Wi-Fi access to Netflix, Instagram and Snapchat until the end of the school year.
In a statement on its website, the Board says it made the decision to take this “temporary measure” because just these three sites accounted for more than 20% of the overall daily network activity. And in their older, slower network, the usage of these apps made many necessary operational tasks, such as attendance, registration and report cards, “nearly impossible to complete”.
So, it seems the distraction is not the main issue here, but the Wi-Fi network being overwhelmed because of too much social activity, which in fact hinders basic school activities. Of course, using social media apps by students while at school, or in class, can also be a problem if we dig into less interesting things like learning process and academic performance. But, after all, if the students really want access to the social sites on their personal mobile devices, they will always find a way to get it even with a blocked Wi-Fi network: it would be enough for them to turn the Wi-Fi off, and go to the mobile network.
Obviously, the Toronto District School Board is well aware of that, so it is not going to permanently ban the usage of Netflix, Instagram and Snapchat in school. And, fortunately for the students there, the Board will start working on a newer, faster network for its schools over the summer. In September, the regular Wi-Fi access is expected to be restored. Lucky teenagers...
But what about the nerds? Well, they can always take a look at this simple guide on how to avoid distracting apps (on Android smartphones).