What should school districts know about CIPA compliance?

Technological advancements including mobile devices, intelligent software and other learning tools are changing the way educators teach and shifting the way students participate in their own education. As institutions continue to add more innovative endpoints and platforms, it’s important that they also consider the requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act.

CIPA is critical for schools, particularly those within the kindergarten through 12th grade range. But what, exactly, does CIPA require and how can district administrators ensure that their organization is compliant? Let’s take a look at how technology is changing the face of education and what institutional leaders should know:

Technology increases in the classroom

There’s no question about it: Today’s schools use considerably more advanced learning tools than institutions in the past. According to statistics gathered by PracTutor:

  • Tablets are increasingly popular – as well as effective. Just over 80 percent of educators agree that tablets have the ability to enhance classroom learning, and 64 percent of high school seniors noted that access to tablets improves study efforts.
  • What’s more, 20 percent of students’ math scores increased after using tablets in the classroom over the course of a year.
  • Mobile devices aren’t the only technological assets leveraged. Seventy-two percent of educators prefer to use LCD or DLP projectors, 57 percent have seen success with interactive whiteboards and 49 percent use digital cameras to support classroom learning.
  • Overall, 98 percent of schools have at least one computer in each classroom, and 77 percent of teachers utilize online resources to support their curriculums.

CIPA and its importance in schools

As schools continue to leverage online resources and smart devices, the Children’s Internet Protection Act becomes even more crucial.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, CIPA was put into place in 2000 and aimed to safeguard young students from “obscene or harmful content over the internet.” This regulation ensures that schools have the right protection measures in place to control access and support successful learning while blocking inappropriate materials.

In addition to protecting adolescent students, CIPA also offers discounts and benefits under the E-rate program as an incentive for ensuring safe internet usage in educational institutions. Schools and libraries can receive E-rate funding that can be put toward telecommunications services and other technological assets to support districts’ educators and the student body.

CIPA requirements: Compliance checklist

Overall, CIPA is essential for ensuring the protection of students and supporting safe online activity in the classroom. Best of all, schools that comply can reap the added benefit of E-rate funding to bolster their telecommunications.

But what does a district need to comply? Take a look at the checklist below:

  • A robust Internet Safety Policy: First and foremost, administrators must establish a policy that prevents access to inappropriate materials online by students under 17. This policy should address not only internet access, but the security of minors using email, chat and other communications. This standard should also include information about unauthorized hacking, disclosure of personal information and the measures used to ensure safety for minors.
  • Technological protection measures: A technology solution should also be in place to support the Internet Safety policy, as well as block and filter access to the Internet. This can include a strong firewall and filtering capabilities that prevent access to harmful materials.
  • A public meeting or hearing: Once the proposed policy and protection solution have been chosen, administrators must also host a public meeting or hearing to discuss these items with the community.

Compliance with CIPA is essential and benefits not only the well-being of students, but the school district as a whole. More information on CIPA compliance requirements can be found here.

Contact Untangle for more details about protection measures created especially for educational institutions.