Teaching in the digital age presents myriad considerations that we could not even conceive just a few years ago. One of these considerations is the use of web 2.0 and web 3.0 tools by students under age 13. There are some amazing, interactive, and fun tech tools out there that seem to be perfect for our classrooms. However, before you jump right in, there are just a few things you need to know to keep your students safe and to stay in compliance with federal laws. Let’s take a look at CIPA, COPPA, and FERPA to ensure we know what these laws are and what they mean to us as educators.
The information below was compiled by edtechteam.com. Visit their website here.
Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
- FCC Summary
- Judicial Interpretation of CIPA’s Unblocking Provision: According to the Supreme Court, a library that is required to filter can either disable the filter or unblock a site in response to an adult patron request to do so. Justice Rehnquist stated “[a]ssuming that such erroneous blocking presents constitutional difficulties, any such concerns are dispelled by the ease with which patrons may have the filtering software disabled. When a patron encounters a blocked site, he need only ask a librarian to unblock it or (at least in the case of adults) disable the filter.” FCC Order 03-188 subsequently instructed libraries complying with CIPA to implement a procedure for unblocking the filter upon request by an adult.
- FCC Order 03-188: In upholding CIPA, the Supreme Court emphasized “the ease with which patrons may have the filtering software disabled,” and that a patron who encounters a blocked site … need only ask a librarian to unblock it (or at least in the case of adults) disable the filter.” The plurality also highlighted the government’s acknowledgment at oral argument that “a patron would not ‘have to explain … why he was asking a site to be unblocked or the filtering to be disabled.’”
Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
- FTC FAQs (Cached)
- Note: COPPA applies only to commercial entities, not non-profits or schools. The burden is on the commercial entity.
- Note: Even so, schools excel at collecting “verifiable parent consent” – we call this permission slips.
- Note: “COPPA allows… schools to act as agents for parents in providing consent for the online collection of students’ personal information within the school context.”
- Note: “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.”
- Excellent video about COPPA for app and online service developers (very interesting for teachers and parents as well)
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
- ED Summary
- § 99.31 Under what conditions is prior consent not required to disclose information ? “A contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party to whom an agency or institution has outsourced institutional services or functions may be considered a school official.” (Certain conditions apply.)
- Note: Parent consent is still sufficient to release “student records” to a third party (such as an online service provider).