Legislation And Laws Pertaining To Internet Safety

Many state and federal laws pertaining to Internet safety have been put in place to help parents protect their children from the dangers lurking on the Internet.

Internet Safety Laws to Protect Children
One of the most integral Internet safety precautions is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which dictates that a website must include a privacy policy and bans collecting personal information for children under 13 years of age without seeking verifiable consent from a parent or guardian. In short, a site cannot ask for personal information from a child other than a basic name needed to participate in an online game or contest.

Several laws meant to protect children on the internet have been deemed unconstitutional regarding adult free speech, such as the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and the Child Online Protection Act (COPA).

Remember that these laws were put in place to help support parents’ efforts for online safety in their families. The best way for children to stay safe on the Internet is to learn appropriate behavior from their parents. Strict online rules at home, paired with government regulations can help keep your child safe from cyber bullies and criminals.

Laws Pertaining to Internet Safety at Public Schools and Libraries
The government has several safeguards in place to help protect your children from Internet dangers while away from your home. Twenty-five states have Internet filtering laws that pertain to public schools and libraries designed to prevent children from gaining access to obscene, harmful or sexually explicit material.

Some states simply require school boards and libraries to adopt Internet use policies, while other states require publicly funded institutions to have filtering software in place on all terminals and computers.

Congress enacted a federal Internet safety act geared toward children in 2000, known as the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, this program provides funding and discounts to elementary and secondary schools and libraries.

The Supreme Court upheld CIPA in 2003 after some opposition. The court ruled that CIPA does not violate the First Amendment, despite blocking some legitimate sites, because libraries can disable filters upon request for adult users.

When institutions accept money through the act, they must certify that they are using filtering software on all computers to protect minors from harmful material, one of the most reliable resources for Internet safety.