An Update to the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

“Education, not mandatory blocking and filtering, is the best way to protect and prepare America’s students.”

Joint Statement of ISTE and CoSN Hailing Passage of Internet Safety Education Legislation

Recently, there have been some changes to the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). In talking about CIPA with some local educators, I was surprised to find that many were not familiar with what CIPA calls for. So I thought I would take a couple of minutes to revisit how it might be affecting you and your district.

CIPA imposes a few requirements on any school or library that receives funding for Internet access or internal connections from the E-rate program. The purpose of the E-rate program is to make communications technology more affordable for eligible schools and libraries. Through E-rate, these schools get discounts on telecommunication services, Internet access, and internal connections.

Schools and libraries subject to CIPA:

  • Must certify that they have an Internet safety policy including protection (to block or filter) pictures that are obscene, pornographic or harmful to minors.
  • Are required to educate minors about appropriate online safety including cyberbullying and interacting with others on social networking sites and in chat rooms
  • Are required to adopt and enforce a policy to monitor online activities of minors
  • Are required to adopt and address a policy implementing
    • access by minors to inappropriate content on the Internet
    • the safety and security of minors while using e-mail, chat rooms or any form of electronic communication
    • unlawful activities (hacking)
    • use of personal information regarding minors
    • restricting access of materials deemed harmful to minors

Recently, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) urged Congress to update CIPA to include requirements regarding appropriate behavior on social networking and chat room sites.

In a joint statement from ISTE’s and CoSN, they said “the Internet contains valuable content, collaboration and communication opportunities that can and do materially contribute to a student’s academic growth and preparation for the workforce”.

Are you educating your students on how to keep themselves safe while online? Are you taking advantage of the valuable content the Internet has to offer? Are you using the collaboration and communication opportunities to aide in your student’s academic growth and prepare them for the workforce?

Or are you (or possibly your technology department) just filtering out what has the wrong label, tag, keyword, or look to it.

10 thoughts on “An Update to the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

  1. Blocking and filtering won’t stop a net-savvy teen who wants to view/watch/do what they want to do. The only way to teach them how to act as Responsible CyberCitizens online is to KNOW that they are doing online.

    When cars were introduced, we didn’t just give keys to teens and say “here, have a blast.” Kids need to be monitored online and parents need to talk to their kids. Hopefully soon we can start putting some ideals into the heads of internet users at a young age so that it doesn’t continue to grow into the Wild West it has become.

    Blocking and filtering alone is a joke. It’s a false sense of security and nothing more than ‘guessing.’ Parents need to know. Knowledge is obtainable with programs like PC Pandora. When you’re a parent, there’s no reason not to know. Unless you’re just lazy…
    Find out how you can keep your kids safe online at

  2. I agree with you Ken.
    The group of technology teachers I met with yesterday all agreed that we need to educate students on how to use their internal filters This way, when they get home and there is no filter installed, they have some background on how to deal with inappropriate material.

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. Excellent article!!! It is a great overview and I’m posting it tomorrow morning on my blog to encourage others to read what you’ve shared.

    I appreciate you digging in and sharing the important things that schools MUST be doing. I’m so proud of ISTE for having a part in getting this added to CIPA.

    And I don’t think a teacher talking at the front of the classroom is going to teach like having free safe social networking, chatting, and other tools to use in the classroom. I wonder if the language, still, however, makes schools want to do this in a way that doesn’t link kids to those outside their classrooms.

    I also think that is a great place to teach this in elementary ed.

  4. Thanks for your comments Vicky. It’s been amazing to me how many educators are not aware of CIPA. I’m looking forward to seeing how our schools (and networks) accommodate the revisions and help bring more of our classrooms into the 21st Century.

  5. It seems to me that by blocking things from our students we are defeating the purpose of teaching them how to use tools appropriately. Just as a car can be driven to places that students shouldn’t go to, we don’t take away their car in case they might go to these places. Instead we teach them the appropriate places to go to. Thanks for sharing this info!

  6. I think it has to go beyond filtering AND beyond units on cyberbullying, social networking, etc. that get shoe-horned into the curriculum by administrators eager to show parents and the world that they are taking cyber safety seriously. Ultimately, kids will learn how to interact with others online by doing it again and again in meaningful tasks connected to the curriculum. I.e. when all of their teachers begin to model appropriate net behavior and the students are required to work and collaborate with each other and with outsiders on the net every day, then over time they will truly learn how to be good cyber-citizens.

  7. Pat and Mike,
    I believe that modeling is one of the best ways we can teach our students to be good cyber citizens. Like Mike wrote, it will take time, but is we begin to integrate projects that involve these skills into our curriculum, the students will learn the appropriate net behavior. Thank you both for your comments.

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