In Year 7, I was amongst the first set of High School students to receive “free” Laptops courtesy of KRudd & The Gang. Imagine that, a “free” Apple Mac Laptop, yours to take home, nurture, care for and respect. It was your gateway to the wider world, your endless desire of Youtube and that up and coming website called, what was it..Facebook I think?
But, you could have all of this fun and exploration as long as you played by your schools rules. The Overlords, as we called the IT personnel, controlled what you could play, search and download. What’s that? You want to search up Black Hawk Down into Youtube and watch a clip? Ha, not today buddy, for the word “Black” is prohibited. Regulated. Restricted. Yes, the word Black was restricted from our laptop screens. Goodluck if you’re doing a report on that movie, or the Black Sea, or even perhaps the Black Bear.
So how do you get around it? Well, depending on who you spoke to, everyone seemed to have conceived different ways to wriggle around these restrictions. Some who lived close by simply connected to their WiFi routers depending where they were in the school. Other’s managed to create a separate account to log into whilst others (myself included) simply typed BlackHawkDown into Google instead of Black Hawk Down. These restrictions were just one of many enforced by The Overlords against us. From certain words and websites being blocked, through to the inability to change your wallpaper (which they gradually gave into) and the blocking of iTunes to help “protect our education.”
But, like most authoritarian rulers, those on the receiving end initially winged about it, but then we gradually honed our skills to work around it. Parents rallied behind come of the students cause, calling some restrictions ridiculous and hindering on our education ability. Eventually, by the time we were in Year 10, most restrictions were lifted or adapted to suit a more “common-sense” approach.
Overall, this experience with regulation and restriction opened alot of our eyes to the broader spectrum of media/technology regulation and it’s impacts first-hand. With such a tech-savvy generation, we found ourselves being able to both understand why these restrictions were there, but too helped us navigate around them.
Stay Classy UOW,