What Do I Look For in a CIPA Compliant Content Filter?

Originally published May 30, 2019 and updated October 1, 2020. 

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.

Students are falling behind during COVID-19. As schools shift towards remote learning or a hybrid environment, they need to provide safe online education that helps teachers keep students focused on their work. Schools need to provide flexible centralized tools and services to the schools they support. Implementing a web filter helps keep students on-task online without the need for teacher supervision and protects students from malicious content on the web.

In addition to implementing a web filter, schools should also pair this with an internet safety policy that helps school employees, students, and parents understand what their school district’s policy is for keeping students safe online.

What are the requirements I need to follow?

To comply with CIPA, schools need to block or filter Internet access to pictures that are:

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

Schools must also monitor the online activity of minors, as well as educate them on proper Internet use and behavior.

Once these measures are in place, schools need to certify they are compliant with CIPA to receive E-rate funding.

How does a web filter meet these requirements?

Here are some of the tools that Netsweeper provides schools to help them comply with CIPA:

  • 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 blocking
  • Create deny and warning pages based on the category of website the minor is accessing
  • Protect against web threats (malware, spyware, viruses, tracking software, and phishing sites)
  • Control instant messaging, webmail, and social networking applications
  • Block applications
  • Compatible with different operating systems and devices
  • SSL Decryption

To learn more about how web filtering can help students stay on-task and protected online, download our Solution Brief: Netsweeper for Education.