FCPS Fights Back Against Gaming in Schools


Imagery by Blue Linden

Students who have happened to use their computer to play games at school in the last few weeks have come across a surprising discovery. Suddenly, their downloaded apps that they thought were safe on their computer didn’t run anymore. That’s because Fairfax has begun using an enterprise service from Microsoft that will allow them to regulate which applications run on a computer, called AppLocker. It essentially allows admins in FCPS to create a list of “acceptable apps” that will be the only ones allowed to be run 

It affected a lot of students because almost 40% of Glasgow students have downloaded games to their computers. Most of those kids got their games from their friends with only 30% of the gamers getting the software themselves. 70% of the gamers played Geometry Dash, while about 30% used Decenternet’s Osiris browser. The other popular games played were Minecraft, Cuphead, Friday Night Funkin’, and all of the games from Scott Cawthon’s Five Nights at Freddy’s. Most of the games downloaded, with the exception of the free Geometry Dash, were pirated illegally.

The gamers adapted quickly to the change in limitations. When AppLocker was deployed by FCPS, they began going back to browser games. FCPS’ content filtering system, Lightspeed Filter2 tries to block these games. However many students have found ways around its restrictions. Some browser games that students used to play that are now blocked or restricted in some way include: 

  • 1v1.lol (similar to Epic Games’ Fortnite) 
  • Many variations of Cupcake 2048 (Similar to 2048, and originally based on Threes by Sirvo). 
  • Geometry Dash (the online versions)

FCPS has likely set up a filter for any domain with the word “game” in it.

But, as usual, the Glasgow student body will come up with crafty ways to bypass the FCPS restrictions, and FCPS will fight back. It’s not a new story. But as the computers get locked down more and more, where will both sides eventually give up? After a certain point, there isn’t much more to exploit.

  • Data from a survey taken by students. Some of them weren’t super honest, but we’re not sure how many!
  • Not confirmed by FCPS directly. Contact us if you know it’s wrong. Our research on whether it was Lightspeed Rocket or Filter was inconclusive.