Cloud-based web content filtering offers a modern, efficient, and flexible way to deal with managing internet access and protecting students from inappropriate content. Its centralized management, scalability, and real-time updates make it a compelling solution for schools seeking to ensure a safe online environment while focusing on educational goals.
Read the article to learn about CIPA guidelines for cloud-based web content filters and how they are helpful for your school.
CIPA Guidelines for Cloud-Based Web Content Filtering:
The United States’ one federal law known as the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) mandates that government-funded schools and libraries put in place specific safety measures to protect kids from harmful content when they use the internet.
One of these safety measures is the use of a content filter to block access to inappropriate websites. Cloud-based web content filtering is a type of content filtering that is hosted in the cloud.
As per the Federal Communications Commission, CIPA, enacted in 2000, requires schools and libraries to implement safety policies restricting minors’ access to inappropriate content websites, protecting their personal data, and preventing them from hacking or other illegal online activities.
Under the federal E-rate program, schools and libraries are eligible for discounted Internet service if they follow the CIPA guidelines. The discount rates range between 20 percent and 90 percent, depending on the poverty level of the school districts. In 2021, the E-rate program provided more than $4.27 billion to schools and libraries.
When it comes to cloud-based web content filtering, CIPA provides guidelines that schools must follow to ensure compliance. While the law doesn’t specifically address cloud-based solutions, its principles are applicable to various types of content-filtering implementations, including those hosted in the cloud.
Schools Implementing Cloud-based Web Content Filtering under CIPA should Consider:
Internet Safety Strategy:
As a school owner, you must have an internet safety strategy that addresses the safety and security of minors when using electronic correspondence, including access to inappropriate content. The steps taken to protect your students from offensive material should be outlined in this strategy.
Technology Protection Measures:
You must employ technology protection measures, such as content filters, to obstruct or filter internet access to obscene material. The content includes child pornography and is hurtful to minors. These measures should also protect against illegal content and material that is inappropriate for your students.
Access to Inappropriate Content:
Schools must take the necessary steps to stop minors from viewing images that are obscene, kid-explicit, or otherwise inappropriate for students. Content filters play a crucial role in identifying and restricting access to such content.
Minors’ Use of Personal Devices
Schools and libraries must address the safety of minors when using their own devices to access the internet through the school’s network. This includes extending content filtering measures to cover personal devices used inside the institution’s premises.
Education and Preparing
You are required to provide education and prepare your students for appropriate online behavior, including interacting with social media and handling cyberbullying. This education should emphasize responsible internet usage and the potential risks associated with online activities.
While CIPA focuses on protecting minors, there should also be provisions for checking minors’ online activities to ensure compliance with the safety measures. Adults responsible for minors should be aware of their online behavior and any potential concerns.
Public Notice and Hearing
Schools and libraries must hold formal reviews or meetings to discuss their internet safety policies. These meetings consider local input and ensure transparency in the implementation of safety measures.
It’s vital to note that while CIPA provides guidelines, it doesn’t prescribe specific technologies or solutions. Therefore, institutions have flexibility in choosing the most suitable cloud-based web content filtering solution that aligns with their needs, resources, and technical requirements. The objective is to effectively prevent minors from accessing hurtful content while respecting their educational and research needs.
Types of Inappropriate Content Blocked by Cloud-Based Filters
Cloud-based web content filters effectively block various types of destructive content, including:
- Sexually Inappropriate Content: Filters stop users from accessing explicit or sexually inappropriate material.
- Child Pornography: This type of material is strictly forbidden and is immediately blocked by filters to comply with legal requirements.
- Harmful to Minors Content: Content unsuitable for children due to violence, explicit language, or grown-up themes is filtered out.
- Illegal Content: Any content that violates nearby, state, or federal laws is prevented from being accessed.
- Hate or Violence Content: Filters block content advancing hate speech, discrimination, or violence against specific groups. Filtered content that promotes or depicts violence is used to safeguard users under 18.
- Betting: In order to protect minors from exposure, websites related to online betting are typically blocked.
- Spam and Phishing: Filters decrease the risk of users encountering spam emails or phishing scams.
- Malware: Cloud-based filters help shield users from malware-infected websites that can hurt devices and compromise security.
The Children’s Internet Protection Act reinforces the importance of safeguarding children from inappropriate online content in schools and libraries. Cloud-based web content filtering has emerged as an efficient and cost-effective solution to meet the guidelines set by CIPA. By following the principles outlined in this article and carefully selecting and implementing the right cloud-based web content filter, schools, and libraries can create a safer online environment for students and library patrons, enabling them to explore the internet securely and responsibly.