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Promoting Online Safety: The Home-School Partnership

Brought to you by CoSN


[05.18.06] Internet Filters Fact Sheet Released
The Breenan Center for Justice of the New York University School of Law has released a comprehensive white paper on the status of Internet filtering software and hardware. Despite advances in technology, most filtering packages still rely on keyword blocking, resulting in large amounts of legitimate information being blocked.

[05.08.06] CoSN Joins Public-Private Partnership Targeting Online Safety
CoSN has announced its participation in a new initiative designed to educate American teens on online safety. Help Keep Kids Connected and Protected, managed by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), will combine the expertise and resources from government agencies, education organizations and consumer advocates from around the country.

[04.02.06] Law Tells Schools to Teach Students About Online Safety
Virginia public schools will be required to teach students about Internet safety under a law passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) last month, according to the Washington Post.


[09.27.05] Agencies, Groups Join Forces to Promote Online Safety
A number of government agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Homeland Security, along with the National Cyber Security Alliance and the National Consumers League, today announced a new interactive consumer education campaign to help consumers stay safe online. The resources, directed at concerns such as Internet fraud, security and protecting personal privacy, will be promoted under the banner "OnGuard Online" and will be available at

[03.24.05] NCES Provides Update on Schools' Online Safety Efforts
The National Center for Education Statistics provided an update to its annual survey on the use of the Internet and online technologies in K-12 found that schools are continuing to use a variety of approaches to try to ensure the online safety of their students.

In "Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-2003," NCES found that almost all (97 percent) of public schools with Internet access used a variety of technologies or procedures to control student access to inappropriate material. Ninety-three percent of schools reported in 2003 that students' usage was monitored by teachers or other staff; 96 percent reported that they made use of blocking or filtering technology; 83 percent required parents to sign a written contract concerning their children's Internet usage; 76 percent required students to sign a written contract concerning their usage; 57 percent used monitoring software; 45 percent used honor codes and 39 percent allowed access only to the intranet. Ninety-seven percent said they relied on a combination of approaches.

In addition, 95 percent of schools using technologies designed to prevent access to inappropriate materials said they disseminated information about these rules and policies to students and parents. Sixty-six percent did so through a special notice to parents, 58 percent used newsletters, 31 percent posted a message on the school website, 25 percent posted a message on a bulletin board at school, 17 percent had a pop-up message at the point of login to a school computer or network and 5 percent used a different method. The full report is available at


[09.02.04] Online Safety in School
"Should you worry about online safety at school?" is the question posed in a recent PC Magazine article. Statistically, says the author, kids are safer online at school than at home and often better supervised. Of interest to educators are Web safety policies and guidelines that should be in place as best practices. The issue of cyber-bullying, and the liability issues related to this problem are also discussed.

[06.30.04] Supreme Court Continues to Block Enforcement of COPA
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision issued on June 29, continued to block enforcement of the 1998 Child Online Protection Act (COPA), but permitted the Bush administration to continue to make its case for the law in the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

[06.09.04] Dot Kids Gains Momentum
At a recent hearing in the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, project leaders on the “” Internet domain delivered a status report on the domain following its launch last September. The domain, which Subcommittee chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) likens to “the children’s section of the library,” is intended as a child-friendly space with pre-approved, filtered content that is appropriate for minors.

[05.18.04] Education Professors Make the Case Against Filtering
In the May issue of Phi Delta Kappan, the professional journal for educators, education professors T.A. Callister Jr. and Nicholas C. Burbules argue against the widespread use of filters in schools. The authors, however, do not address the requirements imposed by the Children's Internet Protection Act on schools that receive certain kinds of E-rate discounts or federal funding for technology.


[09.03.03] Internet Resource Now Available for Kids' Safety Online
A new Web site for parents, educators, government officials and media that offers authoritative resources on combating the dangers for kids on the Internet is now available online. "" is a comprehensive online service from the National Research Council of the National Academies provides adults with a starting point for examining the myriad safety issues regarding children and the Internet.

[08.16.03] NTIA Recommends Broader Definition of "Technology Protection Measure"
In a study mandated by the Children's Internet Protection Act, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration recommends that the law's definition of "technology protection measure" be expanded to include more than just blocking and filtering technologies.

[07.29.03] FCC Issues Order in Response to Supreme Court CIPA Decision
The Federal Communications Commission adopted an order on July 23 that specified how libraries are expected to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act, now that the Supreme Court has found the law to be constitutional.

Additional information is also available on the website of American Library Association.

[06.24.03] Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of CIPA
In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court June 23 overturned a lower court ruling and said that the Children's Internet Protection Act did not amount to an unconstitutional restriction on the 1st Amendment rights of library patrons.

[04.07.03] House Votes to Curb Misleading Web Site Names
Legislation making it a crime to knowingly use innocent-sounding Web site names to lure children to adult-oriented materials was overwhelmingly approved by the U.S. House in late March, 410-14. The bill (H.R. 1104), known as the Child Abduction Prevention Act, seeks to prevent children, schools and parents from accidentally browsing into seemingly safe Web sites based on their misleading titles--such as

[03.07.03] Supreme Court Hears CIPA Arguments
The American Library Association went before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 5 to argue that the Children's Internet Protection Act is an unconstitutional restriction on the free speech rights of library patrons. The High Court case stems from a decision last May by a special three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, which found that CIPA was unconstitutional as it pertained to libraries.


[12.09.02] Kaiser Family Foundation Study Examines How School Filters Impact on Access to Health Information
In a review of the Internet filtering products most commonly used by schools, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation said December 10 that the products did not significantly impede access to online health information, but only when not set at their most restrictive levels...

[11.22.02] Dot Kids Dot US Domain Passes Senate
On November 15, 2002, the Senate passed H.R. 3833, the "Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act," which requires the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to oversee implementation of a new second-level ".kids" domain within the ".us" top-level domain. This bill was already passed by the House, and the President is expected to sign it into law...

[11.15.02] U.S. Supreme Court to Hear CIPA Case This Term
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Nov. 12 to review the constitutionality of the portions of the Children's Internet Protection Act that require libraries receiving certain kinds of federal funding to install filters on their computers that access the Internet...

[09.17.02] Schools Install Internet Filters
Dale Alexander, the information technology director for Albuquerque, N.M., public schools, was not exactly a fan of filtering software for blocking pornography and other Web sites deemed inappropriate for children...

[09.16.02] Groups File Comments for NTIA Study
Under the Children's Internet Protection Act, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration is required to conduct a study of the current approaches used by schools to protect children online...

[08.21.02] CoSN Submits Comments to NTIA for Review of Online Protection Technologies
The Consortium for School Networking August 16, 2002, submitted comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration for its review of blocking and filtering technologies, as it was required by Congress under the Children's Internet Protection Act...

[08.20.02] Study Notes Gap Between Student and Teacher Use of Internet
Students report that there is a substantial disconnect between how they use the Internet for school and how they use the Internet during the school day and under teacher direction, according to a new study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project...

[07.22.02] BellSouth Foundation Awards $50,000 to the Consortium for School Networking
The BellSouth Foundation announced today that CoSN will receive a $50,000 grant to help develop and disseminate a toolkit for schools entitled, "Talking to Your Parents and Community About Internet Safety..."

[07.01.02] Justice Department Says It Will Appeal CIPA Decision
The Justice Department formally notified the Supreme Court June 28 that it will appeal a recent lower court decision striking down those portions of the Children's Internet Protection Act that require libraries to use a technology protection measure on computers that access the Internet...

[06.27.02] NTIA Solicits Comments on Technology Protection Measures and Internet Safety Policies
The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration is soliciting comments to evaluate whether current blocking and filtering technology and Internet safety policies adequately address the needs of schools...

[06.07.02] Survey Finds Most Schools Are Taking Steps to Promote Online Safety
More than 90 percent of school districts report that they have installed a filtering solution and 78 percent report that teachers supervise students' Internet use. Those were the findings of a new survey released by the National School Boards Foundation...

[05.31.02] District Court Overturns CIPA Requirements for Libraries
A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia May 31 overturned those portions of the Children's Internet Protection Act that require libraries receiving certain kinds of federal technology funding to restrict access to some forms of Internet content...

[05.20.02] Media Literacy Report Released
The Free Expression Policy Project has issued a new report, "Media Literacy: An Alternative to Censorship" which tracks the history of media literacy education...

[05.17.02] Supreme Court Sends COPA Case Back to Appeals Court
The Supreme Court May 13 blocked enforcement of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) until certain questions about its impact on free speech could be resolved. The court said that reliance on "community standards" to define what is "harmful to minors" on the Internet does not necessarily violate the 1st Amendment's protections for free speech...

[05.09.02] National Research Council Study Concludes No Single Approach Can Protect Children from Online Pornography
A two-year study by the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council has concluded that no single approach is sufficient to protect children from online pornography. Instead, the report recommends a combination of approaches that can be adapted to fit the circumstances of different communities...

[04.17.02] European Parliament Adopts Resolution on Managing Online Access
The European Parliament voted, 460-0, on April 11 to approve a resolution that endorsed self-regulatory approaches to "the protection of minors and human dignity" in accessing Internet content...


[12.01.01] Online Users Warned About "Porn-Napping"
School leaders have been advised to be on the lookout for "cyber-squatters" who have reclaimed Internet domains that have been abandoned by legitimate groups, including some in the education area...

[11.21.01] Teachers Report Increased Use of Filtering Software
Close to 73 percent of teachers with school access to the Internet report that their school now uses filtering software, up from 61 percent in 2000. The data is from a recent report by Quality Education Data entitled "Internet usage in Teaching, 2001-2002...

[11.18.01] Dot-Kids, or Dot-Kids R Us?
House lawmakers are considering having the government establish a kid-friendly Internet domain since the international body that governs domain names has refused to create a suffix for child-appropriate content...

[10.30.01] Peer to Peer Opportunities: Keeping an Open Mind on File-Sharing Networks
Earlier this year, the House Minority Staff Special Investigations Division conducted a special investigation of Internet file-sharing applications at the request of Representatives Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) and Steve Largent (R-OK). The point of the investigation was to ascertain whether, and to what degree, pornography was available to minors through peer-to-peer file-sharing applications...

[10.11.01] National Coalition Against Censorship Releases Filtering Report
The Free Expression Policy Project of the National Coalition Against Censorship has just published a new study, "Internet Filters: A Public Policy Report," that compiles the results of what it describes as all of the studies and tests that it could locate on 19 products or software programs that are commonly used to filter Web sites and other Internet communications...

[08.31.01] Separating Students From Smut
Over the next year, schools will be in danger of losing precious technology funding unless they can certify they have a filtering system that blocks obscene websites...

[08.14.01] Libraries' Case Against CIPA Moves Forward
A three-judge federal district court panel July 26 refused to dismiss lawsuits brought by the American Library Association and the American Civil Liberties Union...

[08.14.01] House Government Reform Committee Issues Report on Internet File Sharing
The U.S. House Government Reform Committee's Special Investigations Division issued a report on July 27 designed to alert parents that children can bypass some filtering products...

[08.14.01] S.C. Requires Computer Technicians to Report Pornography
S.C. Gov. Jim Hodges signed legislation on July 20 that will require computer technicians who view pornographic images while working on a computer to report the name and address of the PC owner or user to law enforcement authorities...

[08.14.01] Pew Survey Provides More Data on Teens Online
The Pew Internet and American Life Project recently published a detailed study on teen activities online, called "Teenage Life Online: The Rise of the Instant-Message Generation and the Internet's Impact on Friendships and Family Relationships..."

[04.06.01] FCC Issues Final Rules on E-rate Filtering Requirements
The Federal Communications Commission April 5 released its final regulations for implementing the E-rate portion of the Children's Internet Protection Act...

[03.19.01] Groups File Suit to Block CIPA
The American Library Association and the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit March 20 to block the enforcement of the Children's Internet Protection Act, which would require schools and libraries that receive certain kinds of federal technology support to install a "technology protection measure..."

[03.12.01] State Court Says Library Not Responsible When Child Accessed Pornography
A California appeals court has held that the City of Livermore cannot be held responsible when a minor used computers at the city library to download sexually explicit photos from the Internet...

[01.30.01] ICRA Launches New Content Labeling System
The Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA), an international independent, non-profit organization, has launched a new Internet labeling system designed to be adapted to different national, cultural and individual needs.

[01.20.01] Judge Orders School Officials to Share Logs with Parent
In November, a Rockingham County, NH, Superior Court judge ruled that school officials had to make available to a parent Internet logs detailing the Web sites visited by students, faculty and staff in the Exeter Region Cooperative School District and the Exeter School District.


[12.06.00] Consortium Offers Unfiltered Advice on Filtering Software
As Congress continues to grapple with the issue of requiring schools and libraries to install Internet filtering software, a group of school technology administrators is offering unfiltered advice on what educators can do to safeguard students online.

[11.28.00] New Web Site Helps Schools Decide How to Manage Internet Content
Do internet filters really protect students from being exposed to pornography, or do they just offer schools a false sense of security? Are acceptable-use policies enough to protect schools from legal action if a student downloads inappropriate material from the web?

[11.15.00] White Paper Provides Guidance to Help Protect Students...
Two weeks ago CoSN released a new initiative entitled "Safeguarding the Wired Schoolhouse". This is just one of the recent articles on this important new resource for schools. Encourage your colleagues to use this great new reference site.

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