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Promoting Online Safety: The Home-School Partnership

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Children's Online Safety

OnGuard Online is a resource sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Commerce Department's Technology Administration and other non-profit organizations and technology companies to help online users protect themselves against Internet fraud, and to promote computer security and online personal privacy. Its website,, includes a video related to promoting online safety for children at

The National Cyber Security Alliance, a coalition of government, non-profit and industry organizations, offers a collection of resources to promote online safety and security on its website, Its resources that are directed specifically at promoting online safety for children are available at

The Business Software Alliance has created a parentís guide to cybersecurity issues entitled Play it Cyber Safe, which includes information on laws regarding online pornography. It can be accessed at

Safety Clicks! is an initiative sponsored by America Online Inc. and the National School Boards Foundation to promote online safety. Its Web site,, includes interactive games and information for children, parents and educators, and a downloadable instant-messaging robot that can provide real-time responses to online safety questions.

CyberSmart is a free, K-8 online curriculum that was developed with support from Macmillan/McGraw Hill. The downloadable materials are organized around five themes-safety, manners, advertising, research and technology-to teach online safety and information literacy skills. See

At the request of Congress, the National Research Council conducted a study of tools and strategies for protecting children from inappropriate content. Its findings were released in a lengthy May 2002 report that can be reviewed at

"Safe & Smart: Research and Guidelines for Children's Use of the Internet," was published by the National School Boards Foundation in 2000. Available at

"Get Net Wise." This Web site, created in 1999 by the Internet Education Foundation, a coalition of education organizations, advocacy groups and Internet businesses, was designed to provide a safety resource for parents that was "one click away." It includes a useful guide to filtering software products as well as products that monitor children's online activities or that can set time limits on online sessions. Although most of the products are designed for single computers used at home, some of the products are identified as solutions for network servers. Available at

"Kids Connect" is a resource created by ICONnect, a technology initiative of the American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association. It is designed specifically to help school library media specialists, teachers and students. It is available at

The American Library Association has created a resource, "Great Websites for Kids" to help parents, educators, and librarians identify appropriate online resources for children. It can be accessed at

"Parents Guide to the Internet," was created in November 1997 by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement and its Office of Educational Technology. It is available at

"America Links Up: A Kids' Online Teach-in" was a 1998 public awareness and education campaign sponsored by a broad-based coalition of non-profits, education groups and businesses. Materials are available at

The Media Awareness Network is a project, sponsored by Canadian businesses and non-profit associations, designed to promote online safety and information literacy. It covers a wide variety of topics, including information literacy, Acceptable Use Policies, privacy issues, content management strategies and online marketing to children. Although the public policy information is from a Canadian perspective, much of the information could be useful for teachers and parents. The project's materials are available at

"Get Cybersavvy!," was an educational campaign for parents, children, educators and librarians that was created in 1997 by the Direct Marketing Association. The resources are available at

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has been involved with the online safety of children since 1994. Its Web site can be accessed at is a Web site created by Larry Magid, a syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times and a long-time advocate for child safety online. It can be accessed at

Net Family News is a nonprofit news service devoted to serving the needs of teachers and parents working with children online. It helps distribute the news of a consortium of organizations working in this area. Its Web site and newsletter can be accessed at

"Not in Front of the Children: 'Indecency, Censorship and the Innocence of Youth," by Marjorie Heins, discusses the history of efforts to try to protect children from content that was considered inappropriate for them. The book was published by Hill and Wang in May 2001.

".SAFE" (dot-safe) is a pilot project of the European Schoolnet to develop materials and review best practices to promote Internet safety in schools. Schoolnet is an international partnership of more than 20 European Ministries of Education. More information about the .SAFE initiative is available by clicking to

Childnet International is a non-profit organization, based in London, England, that works to promote online safety around the world. See

Children's Internet Protection Act

The National Center for Education Statistics conducts an annual survey focusing on Internet access in K-12 public schools in the United States, including information about the strategies they are pursuing to promote Internet safety. Its report, "Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-2003," is available here.

Under the Children's Internet Protection Act, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration was required to conduct a study of the current approaches used by schools to protect children online. The Consortium for School Networking was among the organizations that submitted comments for NTIA to review. The final report includes a recommendation for modifying the language of the Children's Internet Protection Act. The report is available at

In June 2003, in a case brought by the American Library Association and the American Civil Liberties Union, the Supreme Court held that the Children's Internet Protection Act did not infringe on the First Amendment rights of library patrons. The text of the court's decision is available at

The Schools and Libraries Division's latest information on the requirements that E-rate recipients must meet to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act can be reviewed under "Children's Internet Protection Act" at

The U.S. Education Department's guidance to the states on compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act is available in the document found at

Information about Safer Internet, the European Union's efforts to promote the use of the Internet for safe and appropriate purposes, is detailed at The site includes news about government initiatives and legislation in Europe.

Acceptable Use Policies

"Legal Issues & Education Technology: A School Leader's Guide," published by the National School Boards Association, 1999. This publication includes a listing of "Elements of an Effective Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) Governing Student Internet and Technology Access," which is accessible at

Play It CyberSafe is a Web resource, created by the Business Software Alliance, designed to help young people understand the ethical issues involved with hacking, software piracy, copyright, cyber-terrorism. It is available at

"Plans and Policies for Technology in Education: A Compendium (2nd Edition)," edited by Bagby, R., Bailey, G., Bodensteiner, D., and Lumley D. for the National School Boards Association, 2000. In particular, Chapter 7 provides useful information to school districts that need to create Acceptable Use Policies.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals has published a number of resources related to building-level Internet issues. They are available at the organization's Web site,

"Develop an 'Acceptable Use Policy' (AUP) for Schools and Public Libraries," compiled by The Internet Advocate. Available at

The Virginia Department of Education's Division of Technology has created a guide called "Acceptable Use Policies--A Handbook" that includes additional resources and templates for AUPs. It can be accessed at

Information Literacy

"Usability of Websites for Children," a report prepared by Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group after studying how a group of children navigated through Websites. The $145 report is available at Press reports about the study can be accessed there, too.

CyberSmart is a free, K-8 online curriculum that was developed with support from Macmillan/McGraw Hill. The downloadable materials are organized around five themes-safety, manners, advertising, research and technology-to teach online safety and information literacy skills. See

In addition to many of the sites listed above, the Web site of the National Forum on Information Literacy is a good starting point for learning more about this subject. It can be accessed at

The American Library Association has developed nine standards for measuring student information literacy. They are available at

The ALA has compiled several resources to guide teachers, parents and students to age-appropriate Web sites. "Great Web Sites for Kids" is available at

The Montgomery County (MD) Public Schools has created a Web site, "Electronic Literacy Pre K-12," to help teach children about information literacy. It includes templates to help evaluate Web sites, information about search strategies and search engines and lesson plans. It is available at

The University of Texas System Digital Library has created an online tutorial to test online information literacy skills. It can be accessed at

The Washington Library Media Association Online has compiled resources related to information literacy and lesson plans to help teach it at

"Media Literacy: An Alternative to Censorship," a report by the Free Expression Policy Project, tracks the history and current state of media literacy education. It is available at


The Commission on Online Child Protection (the COPA Commission) has compiled a variety of research papers that analyze both the extent of the online safety threat and the pros and cons of using various filters. These papers are available at

Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility Filtering FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). This document provides a good overview of filtering. It was last updated in 2001. It is available at

"Figuring Out Filters: A Quick Guide to Help Demystify Them," by Karen Schneider, School Library Journal, February 1998, available at

"Choosing a Filter That's Right for Your Schools," by Trevor Shaw, eSchool News, November 1999. Available through the magazine's archive at

"FilterGate, or Knowing What We're Walling In or Walling Out," by Art Wolinsky, describes the impact of so-called IP-Independent Virtual Hosting and Round Robin DNS on the operations of filtering companies. The article, which was published in the May/June 2001 issue of Multimedia Schools, is available at

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a study comparing the extent to which different configurations of six filters frequently used in schools and libraries restricted access to health information. The study is available here.

Internet Content Rating Systems

More information on the history of the Platform for Internet Content Selection is available at

More information on the Internet Content Rating Association and the RSACi (Recreational Software Advisory Council-interactive) rating system is available at

More information on the SafeSurf labeling system is available at

More information on the Entertainment Software Rating Board and its system for rating online games is available at

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