LAWS AND ORGANIZATIONS FOR KIDS ONLINE
The history of the Internet for kids really began in the mid-1990s when two-way communication systems and entertainment options were added to the World Wide Web. Year-over-year since then Internet usage has grown, and now kids as young as three are beginning to explore the web.
Even before the Internet became widely adopted it was clear that this new online environment needed oversight to keep kids and adults safe. Today there are dozens of federal and state agencies as well as non-profit organizations that are dedicated to protecting the youngest Internet users.
Below is a list of laws and organizations that provide valuable information, oversight and services that help protect our children while they're online.
Laws That Protect Children Online
Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
This act was enacted in 2000 to protect kids from being exposed to adult content. CIPA requires that schools and libraries that receive discounts for Internet service take measures to filter out adult content on their computers.
Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
In 1998 COPPA was put in place to ensure that kids' information stays protected and isn't used in a deceptive way or to steal their identity. The act requires all websites that target young kids and those that gather their information include clear privacy policies that disclose if and how a child's information would be used.
Government Organizations for Child Internet Safety
Department of Education
The DoE has information about technology including Internet safety.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The FBI has created an Internet safety guide for parents that covers how to handle inappropriate contact from strangers, adult content and minimizing their risk online.
Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can provide assistance whenever there are consumer complaints or issues with identity theft. They also protect against unfair and deceptive business practices, which helps in instances where your child may be taken advantage of or mislead by a business online.
The focus of this government initiative is to teach kids about using social media safely.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) was created before the Internet, but it has proven to be a valuable resource for children that have been exploited online. Their law enforcement experts use technology to find missing children, conduct investigations and help parents cope.
National Center for Victims of Crime
If your child is a victim of cyber crime the National Center for Victims of Crime can help them through the recovery process.
This government website is a collaboration of information from many agencies that are focused on anti-bullying efforts.
U.S. Justice Department / CyberEthics for Kids
The U.S. Justice Department has a segment called CyberEthics for Kids.
There are also a number of state agencies that deal specifically with Internet technology and safety. Check your state's official website to learn about the services and assistance offered. For example, here in Texas parents, teachers and kids can get resources on Internet safety from the Texas School Safety Center.
Non-Profit Organizations That Support Internet Safety for Kids
Center for Safe & Responsible Internet Use
The Center for Safe & Responsible Internet Use offers a variety of educational materials to schools and individuals on many different Internet safety topics. This organization also runs CyberBullying.org, which brings attention to the problems created by cyber bullying and how kids as well as adults can help prevent it from happening.
This non-profit is an excellent resource for new media and Internet safety for kids. In fact, we regularly reference CommonSense Media for general and timely information.
Crimes Against Children Research Center
The Crimes Against Children Research Center is part of the University of New Hampshire. The focus is on conducting research and gathering statistics for government agencies to create policies and to keep the public informed.
Cyberbullying Research Center
This organization performs research on the issue of cyber bullying and produces a wide variety of information on the subject.
Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI)
This international organization promotes sound public policy, informed parenting and industry best practices so that the Internet is rewarding for everyone instead of risky.
If your kid's school is looking for resources that can be used to teach Internet safety iSafe Inc. is an excellent resource. The non-profit provides free curriculum for kids in grades K-12.
National Crime Prevention Council
If you're around 40 or younger you probably remember McGruff the Crime Dog. He's the official mascot of the National Crime Prevention Council's campaigns to prevent crime both online and offline. The non-profit has members from the public as well as law enforcement and government officials.
If you have a young child NetSmartz.org is one website you'll want them to see. They cater to young audiences with comics and animations that teach Internet safety.
"1 IN 20 CHILDREN– HAS ARRANGED A SECRET MEETING WITH SOMEONE THEY MET ONLINE."
- NETMUMS SURVEY OF 825 KIDS
Teaching kids Internet safety is as important as teaching them to look both ways before crossing the street. Don't wait until their safety, your financial security or a family member's identity is compromised. Take action against cyber criminals that use the Internet to gain access into our lives and the lives of our children.