children’s internet protection act
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What Is Children’s Internet Protection Act?

| August 20, 2022

“And I think to myself, what a wonderful world!” 

But is it all sunshine and rainbows in this world? 

Unrestricted unsupervised internet access for children might not really sit well with this idea. 

Internet Safety For Children: Have You Given This A Thought?

Internet Safety For Children Have You Given This A Thought

I’m sure you are aware of the harmful effects of the internet. Surveys have found that internet usage by kids ranges from multiple hours a day to 3 hours a week (UCLA Internet Report, 2000, 2001, 2003). However, the general opinion is that children tend to spend a lot of time on the internet. 

Time spent online is often done by cutting back on physical and social activities. Children tend to be curious. Unsupervised access to the internet has often led to children stumbling on harmful websites that could endanger them physically and mentally in the long run. 

The Children’s Internet Protection Act(CIPA) is a piece of federal legislation meant to deal with the negative outcomes of children accessing harmful content online. Schools and public libraries have children frequently accessing them. Only the institutions which abide by the provisions of this Act shall be allowed to avail of discounts offered by the E-rate program. 

What Are The Dangers This Act Protects Children From?

What Are The Dangers This Act Protects Children From

Dangers on the Internet for children can range from cyberbullying to mistakes made online that could terrify the child for life. 


A study conducted in 2018 held that a whopping 47% of young individuals have been a victim of bullying online. Their online persona can be subject to numerous comments which might shape their personality somehow. 

Predators Online

If your child has unlimited internet access and is mostly unsupervised, there is a chance they may end up falling for click baits. These click baits often lead kids to malicious websites. They might run into scammers or even worse, pedophiles.

Predators take the opportunity online to influence kids to carry out their bidding offline. Efforts by the government such as the Children’s Internet Protection Act go a long way to combat these evils. 

Posting too much Private Information online has also caused children to be easily identified offline and make them even more prone to online predators. 


These seemingly friendly emails bear links to harmful websites and may often lead children to click on them. These malicious websites collect personal information such as bank and other financial details, certificates, consumer behavior, etc

Downloading Malware

These are applications often downloaded into your computer without your knowledge or permission. These tend to be masked by other applications which make detection difficult. Malware once entering your system tends to collect personal and necessary details. These also slow down the performance of your system.  

Risk Of Exposure To Pornography

This might be one of the most harmful side effects of internet access to children. The average age at which children come across pornography online has been found to be 11 years. Internet access has been the primary factor in that regard. Some of the common outcomes of child exposure to pornography include:

Physical And Mental Problems

It can lead to depression, damaged self-esteem, isolation, and long-lasting effects on health. 

Altered Perception Of Body

Young minds are the most impressionable. Children develop an idea about the “ideal body type” from exposure to pornography at young ages. This often leads to body dysmorphia and causes them to lose respect for their bodies.

Altered Perception Of Sexual Behavior

Early exposure to pornography might lead to children justifying sexual violence later on in their lives. Children fail to understand the concept of a healthy relationship in search of unnatural standards set by pornography. 

So, What Is The Children’s Internet Protection Act?

So, What Is The Children’s Internet Protection Act

Enacted in the year 2000, this Act establishes the need for filters on the internet to restrict children from being exposed to inappropriate and explicit content online. 

The Federal Communications Commission issued guidelines implementing the Children’s Internet Protection Act mandating schools and libraries to abide by them. 

The Children’s Protection Act Requisites

The Children’s Protection Act Requisites

The Universal Service Schools and Libraries Program also known as the E-rate program provides schools and libraries with internet and telecommunication access at affordable rates. 

The E-rate program offers discounts of up to 90%. To qualify for services received under this program, the schools must fall under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and libraries must fall under the Library Services and Technology Act. 

Schools fulfilling the abovementioned criteria shall not be eligible for the E-rate program if they do not stick to the guidelines mentioned in the Children’s Protection Act. 

The guidelines include:

  • The schools must have internet safety policies that include technology protection. 
  • The protection herein mentioned should filter or restrict internet access to objectionable material, obscene and child pornography, harmful content to minors, etc. 

The schools must also:

  • Incorporate policies that monitor the internet activity of minors thus preventing them from accessing harmful websites.
  • They must abide by the standards mentioned in the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act.

The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act is an amendment made to the Communications Act of 1934. The Act extends to the Federal Trade Commission asking it to provide guidelines to ensure Children’s safety in internet usage. 

The schools and libraries are required to do the following.

  • Establish a safety policy concerning Children’s safe access to the Internet.
  • These guidelines must keep children safe while they use direct forms of electronic communication like emails and chat rooms.
  • Minors should be monitored to prevent their unauthorized access to places or hacking into them.
  • Minors should be prevented from giving out their own or others’ personal information online.
  • Minors should be prevented to access sites that may pose a threat to their safety, physical or mental. 

The following things are to be noted while implementing these guidelines.

  • The Children’s Internet Protection Act does not only apply to institutions enjoying the benefits of the E-rate policy.
  • A person authorized by the institution may disable these restrictions when an adult is using the internet or other telecommunication services.
  • The Act does not require the tracking of internet usage by minors or by adults. 

United States V. American Library Association(2003)

United States V. American Library Association(2003)

The Supreme Court passed an important judgment related to the Children’s Internet Protection Act. It stated that the requirement to install internet filters in schools or libraries that get federal funding is not a violation of the Freedom Of Speech Clause established by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. 

The Supreme Court held that internet access in public libraries did not exactly fit under the category of public forums. Thus rules applicable to public forums would not work here. Adults could also have such filters turned off in case they were the ones using it.

This came as a welcome change after the Supreme Court had earlier struck down the Communications Decency Act and The Child Online Protection Act on grounds of violation of the First Amendment. 

It’s A Wrap!

This was pretty much a detailed summary of the currently existing law on Internet Protection for Children in the United States. Filters or protections are always a tricky topic as they might often be misunderstood as encroachments on our personal lives. 

The key is to strike a balance between the two in order to protect the interests of both adults and children alike. 

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Susmita Sen
Susmita Sen

Susmita Sen has started his journey in the Digital Marketing field. She has more than 1 year of experience in SEO. She likes to share her thoughts for the Website’s achievement goal. She is so passionate about bright career in this ways. Susmita has interest about travelling, cooking in various dishes, reading books about human psychology, and listening to music.


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