CHS’ Not So Cool Math Games

Throughout this school year, CUSD’s policy towards what websites students can access has been incredibly fickle. Throughout October, there were days where Cool Math Games was blocked, only for it to be open the next day. That all changed in early November as students opened their iPads only to discover that all their favorite sites were restricted. Unfortunately for students, these restrictions have yet to be lifted.
Instead of making CHS students more attentive, these restrictions just lowered their standards. It’s a common sight to see juniors racking their brains while trying to do basic subtraction in order to beat games on math websites meant for elementary schoolers.
Some students could not be satiated with the aforementioned childish games. So instead of playing games on a trustworthy website that one can argue has some educational value, students are resorting, out of desperation, to sites with such trustworthy names as “Unblocked Games 6969.” This site offers what the name suggests: a wide array of popular browser games that for the most part make their way past the blockers, which are put in place to prevent such games from being played. The website is also about as trustworthy as the name would suggest. Otherwise innocent games like Run 3 are ruined by ads for things that should not be advertised to schoolchildren.
Although CUSD’s website restrictions were most likely set with the noble intention of protecting students, they have managed to do the exact opposite. The websites that students play games on obviously do not abide by the Children’s Internet Protection Act, the piece of federal legislation which the school district is required by law to abide by. The page that greets students once they attempt to open the Cool Math Games website on a CUSD-provided device informs them that the website is blocked due to alleged CIPA violations. This is a flat out lie, as the site is perfectly school appropriate and was tolerated for years within the school district without repercussion. The same cannot be said for the alternatives to Cool Math Games, which offer the same amount of distraction with the added harm of pornographic advertisements.
Although it is obvious that this added harm is bad Dr. Sharon Cooper, an expert with the University of North Carolina, has expounded upon why. Children are particularly vulnerable to imagery because of an excess of mirror neurons in their brains, which are vital for adolescent learning which is primarily done by imitation. Therefore its even more important to present children with only appropriate imagery. Since these web blockers are instituted by CUSD and not just CHS, it affects every student from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Because of this new crackdown on Cool Math Games, Claremont’s elementary school students have been very likely exposed to explicit imagery which they are especially vulnerable to. This is an issue that must be addressed immediately.
This problem can’t simply be solved by blocking, as a countless number of similar, poorly regulated sites exist. The only practical solution is to unblock Cool Math Games. Students may be distracted, but at least they won’t be looking at pornography.