SCSD#1 on Internet Filtering
by Sublette County School District #1 media release
March 8, 2016
Filtering Internet content is often confused with censorship and is a hot topic in education, especially with the recent technology centered trend in modern classrooms. In 2000 Congress enacted the Childrenís Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to help protect children from access to obscene or harmful content on the Internet. While there isnít a law, schools and libraries are ineligible to receive assistive funding for Internet access without meeting certain requirements. Not all schools are eligible to receive the supplemental funding, but the vast majority choose to protect their students, nonetheless.
Sublette County School District #1 takes student safety very seriously and online safety is no exception. Special equipment is installed at the school that monitors all incoming and outgoing Internet traffic. Rules are applied that either allow or block Internet requests based upon a huge database of categorized sites. There are far too many websites for this to be entirely managed individually by schools, so subscriptions are purchased from companies that specialize in categorizing Internet traffic. These lists are automatically updated frequently to help keep them current.
While schools do their best to protect access, itís entirely possible students may sometimes access inappropriate or offensive or online content that would otherwise be restricted to students. This can happen for a variety of reasons. The content may be categorized incorrectly, or not at all, or the content filter may not be functional. Keeping up with the exponential growth of the Internet is a monumental task and no protection system will catch everything.
Itís important for parents to monitor their childrenís online activity, even on a school provided device. Off-school-campus Internet filtering is a "best effort" scenario. There are far too many variables to provide perfect filtering, especially when the device has left the school grounds. Here are three things to help ensure your kids are safely engaged online.
Be involved in your childís online experience.
Donít let children access the Internet in private locations, such as the bedroom.
Become a net-savvy parent.
The best method to guard against Internet dangers is to be informed and involved. Talk with your kids about what they are doing, take a class, read articles, or have your kids help teach you. Contact the school if you have any concerns about what your kids are doing on the Internet. They should be able to provide a short record of recent Internet activity.
For more tips and suggestions to help protect your child, Google "Internet Safety Resources." There is a wealth of information out there for everything from cyberbullying to digital citizenship.
www.sub1.org - Sublette County School District #1