What You Need to Know to Protect Yourself and Teach Your Students


  • Review Internet Safety and Privacy Federal Laws
  • Review District Policies and Procedures on Internet Safety and Privacy
  • Learn about and register for curriculum
  • Learn what curricular resources the District provides for your to use with your students.

Internet Safety and Privacy: Quick Check

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Resource: Privacy Technical Assistsance Center

Internet Safety and Privacy: Keeping Yourself and Your Students Safe Online

CIPA - Children's Internet Protection Act
The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) was enacted by Congress in 2000 to address concerns about children’s access to obscene or harmful content over the Internet. CIPA imposes certain requirements on schools or libraries that receive discounts for Internet access or internal connections through the E-rate program – a program that makes certain communications services and products more affordable for eligible schools and libraries. In early 2001, the FCC issued rules implementing CIPA and provided updates to those rules in 2011.
  • Requires that K-12 schools and libraries in the United States use Internet filters and implement other measures to protect children from harmful online contact as a condition for federal funding. It was signed into law on December 21, 2000 and was fond to be constitutional by the United States Supreme Court on June 23, 2003.
  • Schools and libraries... must block or filter Internet access to pictures that are (a) obscene, (b) child pornography, or, (c) harmful to minors.
  • Schools subject to CIPA are required to adopt and enforce a policy to monitor online activities of minors. (CIPA does not require the online tracking of Internet use by minors or adults.
  • Schools and libraries are required to adopt and enforce an Internet safety policy addressing 5 areas.
  • Beginning in 2012, teaching online safety including cyberbullying and appropriate online behavior to all students is an annual requirement for schools. You should document this via lesson plans, curriculum, sign-in sheets, etc. Keep records of when and to whom.


COPPA - Children's Online Privacy Protection Act
Congress enacted the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in 1998. COPPA required the Federal Trade Commission to issue and enforce regulations concerning children’s online privacy. The Commission’s original COPPA Rule became effective on April 21, 2000. The Commission issued an amended Rule on December 19, 2012. The amended Rule will become effective on July 1, 2013.

The primary goal of COPPA is to place parents in control over what information is collected from their young children online. The Rule was designed to protect children under age 13 while accounting for the dynamic nature of the Internet. The Rule applies to operators of commercial websites and online services (including mobile apps) directed to children under 13 that collect, use, or disclose personal information from children, and operators of general audience websites or online services with actual knowledge that they are collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under 13. The Rule also applies to websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information directly from users of another website or online service directed to children.
  • Applies only to commercial entities, not non-profits or schools. The burden is on the commercial entity.
  • Even so, schools excel at collecting "verifiable parent consent" - we call this permission slips.
  • "COPPA allows... schools to act as agents for parents in providing consent for the online collection of students’ personal information within the school context."
  • "COPPA does not apply to the website operator’s collection of personal information from participating children where a school has contracted with an operator to collect personal information from students for the use and benefit of the school."


FERPA - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy ACT (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."

New regulations under this act, effective January 3, 2012, allow for greater disclosures of personal and directory student identifying information and regulate student ID's and email addresses.
  • Parents or eligible students have the right to review or inspect the student's education records maintained by the school.
  • Parents or students have the right to request that the school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading.
  • Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record.


HIPAA - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for individually identifiable health information held by covered entities and their business associates and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. At the same time, the Privacy Rule is balanced so that it permits the disclosure of health information needed for patient care and other important purposes.

The Security Rule specifies a series of administrative, physical, and technical safeguards for covered entities and their business associates to use to assure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information.


Your Take-Away on Internet Privacy and Safety for your Staff and Students:

SDP Policies
Principals and staff are expected to know and abide by all of the policies set forth by the School District of Philadelphia.

Internet Safety Curriculum Resources