Video streaming sites blocked this school year


Ava Krueger

A student tries to access Netflix on his school computer. Netflix is one of the sites banned on BSM Wifi in order to preserve bandwidth.

This year, the BSM administration has reduced the streaming sites accessible to students who are using the school’s wifi. Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Disney Plus are among those blocked. Although this change is startling to students, it was made in an attempt to improve the Zoom connectivity between online students and teachers.

The decision to block these sites was necessary to ensure that the act of streaming videos wouldn’t take up the bandwidth needed for students at home to connect with their teachers over Zoom. “Really what it comes down to is Zoom uses like 75% of the school’s internet…so we just can’t have everyone doing the extra browsing on the school’s wifi while still being able to do what we’re trying to do in classrooms,” Help Desk Manager Bill Cheney said.

Blocking streaming sites wasn’t the administration’s only solution; BSM has installed an entirely new wifi system and wireless infrastructure as well. “We tried to beef everything up,” Cheney said.

While keeping these sites inaccessible at school makes it easier for students and teachers to connect virtually, the majority of students are not happy with this change. In a survey conducted by the Knight Errant, only 4% of students say that they are in favor of this decision, and 49% say that they would rather have access to sites such as Netflix and Hulu than have faster internet connection during Zoom meetings.

Some students, however, don’t mind that these sites have been blocked. “Originally I was surprised but if it’s to help with Zoom connection, then it’s definitely more important for online students to be able to clearly hear and see everything going on in their class than for us to be able to watch shows during work time,” senior Claire Hennen wrote on the survey.

Really what it comes down to is Zoom uses like 75% of the school’s internet…so we just can’t have everyone doing the extra browsing.”

— Bill Cheney

Others are disappointed that their free hour has suddenly become devoid of entertainment. “Being able to use Netflix during free hour when I finish all of my homework is a nice break from all the work,” freshman Charlies Scroggin wrote.

Students are still able to enjoy streaming at home, as the sites are blocked only while the user is connected to BSM’s wifi. The administration is still working on improving the connection to Zoom and will consider blocking more sites to ensure the connection is at its best. “As we continue down the road, we’re monitoring to see what other sites are being used the most,” Cheney said.

It’s likely that as soon as Zoom connectivity isn’t necessary to teach hybrid or online students, these sites will be unblocked and students will once more be able to enjoy streaming at school. “I would assume we’re going to revisit that conversation next year when we know what the school year’s going to look like,” Cheney said.