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

Originally published May 30, 2019 and updated April 1, 2021. 

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, harmful and obscene content that children have access to online.

 Schools and libraries receive discounts for internet access through the E-rate program when they certify that they have an internet safety policy for kids that includes technology protection measures. The government has made it mandatory for schools and libraries to provide reasonable notice and hold at minimum one public meeting or hearing before accepting a child internet protection policy.

Benefits of CIPA compliance

Complying with CIPA means you can prevent children’s access to inappropriate online content. You can also ensure the safety of children while using chat rooms, email, and other direct types of electronic communications. Unlawful activities and access by minors through unauthorized means such as hacking can be prevented in the best manner. Issues like unauthorized use and disclosure of personal information regarding minors can be addressed as well. You can also restrict minors from accessing materials harmful to them with the utmost efficiency.

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. With the help of a real-time web content categorization engine and centrally or distributed administration tools, Netsweeper places the internet access control into the hands of IT managers. One does not need to worry about activities such as filtering or blocking inappropriate content, malware, viruses, malicious code, and bandwidth consuming applications. In addition, the network remains secure to provide maximum child internet safety
  • 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). 
  • Netsweeper offers a complete suite of technologies to identify zero-minute and known web threats including phishing scams, viruses, malware, and other related issues. Check out our live stats feed!
  • 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.