As the use of technology has grown in schools across the country, so too have concerns over how to keep students safe while using it. The use of technology in schools plays a significant role in providing support to teachers, students, and the overall learning process. In an effort to limit access to harmful content and help keep students focused on their studies, many districts have installed web filters to prevent them from looking at explicit or inappropriate material online. These filters can be installed on school-issued devices and are required by law for all schools receiving federal funding under the E-rate program. Here’s what you need to know about these types of CIPA filters and their major role in education.  

What is CIPA and What Does it Require? 

CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) is a bill enacted by the United States Congress in 2000 due to growing concerns over the inappropriate content that children have access to online. It is essential to comply with CIPA to not only safeguard children from harmful or obscene content, but to also qualify for the E-rate program, which makes communications products and services more affordable for schools and libraries. 

To comply with CIPA, schools must certify they have protection measures in place which block or filter Internet access to pictures that are: 

  • Obscene 
  • Child pornography 
  • Harmful to minors (on computers that are accessible to minors) 

In addition, schools must also meet two further requirements; their Internet safety policies must include monitoring online activities of minors and provide education for minors about appropriate online behaviour. This includes their interactions on social network sites and chatrooms as well as education on cyber bullying awareness. Once these measures are in place, schools need to certify they are compliant with CIPA to receive E-rate funding. 

Schools and Parents Rely on CIPA Filters to Help Keep Kids Safe 

As parents, we want to be able to control what our children are exposed to online and monitor their activity to prevent cyberbullying or harassment. We also want to restrict screen time so they can focus on schoolwork rather than the latest YouTube video trending on social media. A recent survey showed that about 60% of parents want parental controls on their child’s school-issued devices. This is a crucial step towards protecting children from potential dangers lurking online and keeping them safe as they grow up in a digital world. 

Technology plays a key role in the classroom with teachers often using online resources to produce engaging lesson plans. Schools must create Internet Safety Policies that rely on CIPA filtering software to make the learning environment safer, more productive, and efficient for everyone.  

Key considerations schools must look at when Internet Safety Policies and CIPA Compliance: 

  • Minors accessing inappropriate material on the Internet 
  • The safety and security of minors when using direct electronic communications; like email and chatrooms 
  • Unauthorized access and unlawful activities by minors online 
  • Unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal information regarding minors 
  • Measures to restrict a minor’s access to harmful materials 

How Netsweeper Meets CIPA Filter Requirements in Education 

Netsweeper has filtering and monitoring solutions that help schools comply with CIPA requirements: 

  • Block adult content such as hacking, criminal skills, and illegal activities using software that dynamically and rapidly categorizes and filters web content 
  • Enforce SafeSearch across all popular web search engines 
  • Monitor all Internet activity and create comprehensive user base reports 
  • Configure deny and allow lists 
  • File type and applications blocking 
  • Protect against web threats – malware, spyware, viruses, tracking software 
  • Control instant messaging, webmail, and social networking applications 
  • Compatible with different operating systems and devices 
  • SSL Decryption 

Netsweeper goes beyond the static lists of basic internet filters. nFilter leverages advanced AI to block millions of harmful websites to protect students on school devices and meet the standard requirements set out by CIPA regulations. School leaders can also choose Netsweeper onGuard technology to further enhance student protection. onGuard goes beyond the browser to monitor, analyze, and safeguard content across multiple devices, online or offline, providing a secure learning environment. 

CIPA Filters Play a Major Role in Education 

CIPA web filters are essential for an effective educational system. They prevent students from accessing inappropriate content, cyberbullying and eliminate distractions. These school-approved filters also help teachers enforce classroom rules and are the best way to protect children against online dangers while still allowing them access to necessary educational resources like books and videos. 

Check out some of our other resources about keeping kids safe on the internet at school: 

How to Set Chrome SafeSearch 

Is Web Content Filtering a Necessity for Schools 

Reasons Why Schools are Implementing More Digital Monitoring