Snapchat, everyone’s favorite means of photo communication is back! Well, it wasn’t exactly gone, but students can again use Snapchat on school wifi.
The Snapchat ban issue began a few months ago when the school router suddenly began to reject internet traffic coming from the Snapchat app, most likely the result of a district decision to limit distraction in school. However, students circumvented this ban by simply using their cellular data to send and receive Snapchats. This presented an interesting problem, as students simply attempting to communicate were forced to use their limited data to do so. Gabe Schacter-Brodie, a senior, summed up the problem with the Snapchat ban, saying “I was tired of having to waste all of my data just to use Snapchat.” Students still used Snapchat, and rather than preventing its use, the ban simply forced students to use data. The solvency of a ban was next to zero because students were willing to use their data to use an app they like; because of this, a ban would never be a comprehensive solution.
Although this is a potent reason to allow Snapchat on school wifi, the concern for the preservation of an academic environment remains. Ellen Murphy, a senior, commented, “I kind of prefer that we don’t use Snapchat on campus, I mean, although it’s fun to use and communicate with, it actually is distracting.” In some ways it is a distractor, like passing notes in class. When interviewed J.C. Farr, a new member of school administration, commented “When deciding on things like this ban, you have to weigh the impact of allowing Snapchat on the school environment. If it doesn’t do any damage and can be used to benefit the educational environment, we should allow its use. However, if we find that it does detract from learning we should attempt to prevent it from hurting the school’s educational environment.” Karl Losekoot also added that it was a decision of the district rather than school administration.
Weighing these two facts, we come to the conclusion that an open Snapchat is a better idea than a banned one. Right now, Snapchat does not pose a significant enough threat to the learning environment to throw all resources at it. Snapchat is like passing notes in class, an annoyance that serves as a small distraction, however, it is almost impossible to stop. Devoting resources to it, as the ban did, doesn’t stop the problem. This is because students will still use Snapchat, just not through the school wifi. There doesn’t seem to be a solution other than an internet ban or a witch-hunt, neither of which would function in this situation. The district administration made the right call by allowing it and keeping a watchful eye on it in the future.