Gaggle Speaks

Ideas, news, and advice for K-12 educators and administrators to help create safe learning environments.

Written by Gaggle
on June 15, 2017

The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires the adoption and enforcement of an Internet Safety Policy. In conversations with schools and districts across the country, we’ve learned that some districts still don’t have a policy in place, while others struggle to keep them accurate and up to date.

What is an Internet Safety Policy?

An Internet Safety Policy is a set of measures taken to ensure the protection of students using online resources. This includes efforts to monitor the online activities of minors, as well as to block and filter Internet access to pictures that are obscene, child pornography or harmful to minors.

An Internet Safety Policy, moreover, must include a component of digital citizenship. It’s not enough to create an acceptable use policy (AUP) that stipulates what students can and cannot do with your equipment, but rather you must "provide for educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interactions with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response."

Here are three ways to use Gaggle Safety Management as part of your Internet Safety Policy:

Monitoring the online activities of minors.

Machine learning technology analyzes content in student email communications, stored and shared files and calendar events. When we identify questionable content, Safety Representatives review it 24/7/365.

Blocking and filtering Internet access to pictures that are obscene, child pornography or harmful to minors.

When schools and districts read this requirement, network security is the first thing to come to mind. And it should, because the web is the easiest and most common way for students to access the specified content.

What network security does not account for, however, is students attempting to send self-produced or professional pornography to peers using school- or district-provided communication tools. Gaggle Safety Management detects when pornography is sent to or by students.

Providing education for minors about appropriate online behavior.

When Safety Representatives discover inappropriate student content, they notify school or district Emergency Contacts precisely for this reason. We want to give schools and districts the ability to positively intervene in harmful situations and educate students on how their behavior was inappropriate, so that they can make more intelligent and responsible decisions tomorrow.

There are, of course, other stipulations for your Internet Safety Policy, many of which are detailed in the CIPA primer available online. Be sure to read it for a fuller idea of what to include in your policy.

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