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How difficult would it be to meet the requirements of Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)?

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It is not terribly difficult to meet the requirements that are laid out in the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).  Some libraries do not meet these requirements, but that is typically because of their attitudes about freedom of speech, not about the difficulty of implementing the law.

The CIPA is meant to prevent children from being exposed to material on the internet that is harmful to them.  It is also meant to prevent them from being exploited by predators when they use the internet.  In order to prevent these things, the CIPA says that schools and libraries that want the reduced prices must:

  • Block access to pictures that are obscene, that involve child pornography or which (at least with computers accessible to minors) are harmful to minors.
  • Monitor what minors are doing when they are on the internet.
  • Teach minors about what sorts of behaviors on the internet are and are not appropriate.

The schools and libraries must also create policies about internet use.  These policies must touch on such issues as:

  • Minors accessing inappropriate material.
  • Minors’ safety when they are using things like chat rooms.
  • Hacking and other illegal activities on the part of minors.
  • Keeping minors’ personal information safe.

 From this, we can see that the requirements of the CIPA are not terribly onerous.  They do require some amount of effort, but the requirements are generally things that schools and libraries would be doing even if they were not required to.

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