Sunday, May 08, 2011

CIPA and Blocked Sites... the Truth!

In library classes and in technology integration classes for my library and technology teaching certifications I learned about the anachronisms for the various acts that protect our children online. The law of the land now is CIPA. The Children’s Internet Protection Act was enacted in 2001 by the federal government to make sure kids were not exposed to offensive Internet content on school and library computers. It evolved from COPA, the Child Online Protection Act of 1998 that was a direct response to the Supreme Court decision striking down the Communications Decency Act in 1997. While I learned a lot about how the acts evolved and what each was supposed to accomplish, nothing prepared me for the frustration of teaching with a website one day and going in to use it the next day only to find it was blocked by district filters. Recently in her blog post “Straight from the DOE: Dispelling Myths About Blocked Sites,” Tina Barseghian spelled out just what I was taught and wish administrators with the block everything mentality would understand: YouTube is not the enemy, websites can be unblocked for teachers, broad filters are not the answer, unblocking some sites will not cause the district to lose E-rate, teachers and librarians should be equipped to teach students to be responsible digital citizens, and teachers are not the bad guys and if they ask to teach with a sight they should be trusted. For more explanation read Barseghian’s post, it is a breath of fresh unfiltered air.

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