CIPA and COPPA are the two most important documents in terms of the internet, children, and school. Making sure schools remain compliment is imperative as there are more ramifications than just the legal ones.
CIPA or the Child Internet Protection act basically states that for schools or libraries to receive any discounts they must employ some sort of filter on their internet. This filter must protect children from information that is obscene, harmful, or pornographic in nature. Without this a school can receive no discounts and may be subject to fines. The whole premise is to protect children. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! Unfortunately, teachers see the filter as just a hindrance to technology in the classroom. That it is there just to make their lives harder. In reality, the internet is kind of an awful place. Let’s be honest here. There is content that is so harmful to developing children that it would be awful to have that pop up in the middle of class. Plus it’s not like you can’t talk to your IT department to ask the site you need unblocked.
COPPA or the Child Online Privacy Protection Act is designed to prevent the identities of children under the age of 13 being known on the internet. To think of this in terms of Piaget’s stages of development makes perfect sense. As students emerge from the concrete operational stage they enter the formal operational stage. Meaning that they can interpret items on the internet, weigh decisions they make, and know not everything is true. COPPA also helps prevent children’s pictures and last name from being seen. In our ever changing climate keeping this information offline is important. COPPA also governs how websites collect the data and save that data for anyone under 13. COPPA really only applies to students in Elementary and Middle School but the lessons can be applied in High School as best practice. Keeping identifying last names off pictures is a good idea.
Knowing these two pieces of information is important to ensure that you maintain compliance with the law. If your school or organization does not have a filter in place, please be the advocate in your school for one. Keeping children safe is our number 1 priority as teachers.