New online safety curriculum helps schools document CIPA compliance

An animated alien, Sammy Smart, guides students through a new online digital safety program.

As of July 2012, schools receiving federal e-Rate funding must have updated internet safety policies that show how they will educate minors about appropriate online behavior. Now, a new animated online curriculum is available to help schools fulfill this requirement and document their compliance.

The Federal Communications Commission last August amended the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to include the digital safety education provisions of the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act. Under the new rules, federal auditors may ask e-Rate applicants to produce evidence that they have educated their staff and students about internet safety. The e-Rate provides discounts of up to 90 percent of the cost of telecommunications service and internet access to eligible schools and libraries.

AUP Online, an instructional program created by California startup Lersun Development, helps schools document the digital safety education of their students, which could be helpful in the case of an e-Rate audit.…Read More

FTC: Virtual worlds pose real threat to minors

Virtual worlds like Second Life offer educational benefits, but also adult content.
Virtual worlds like Second Life offer educational benefits, but also adult content.

Minors are able to access explicit content in virtual worlds without much difficulty, and the operators of those virtual worlds should take steps to keep that content away from children and teenagers, according to a new report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

“Virtual Worlds and Kids: Mapping the Risks,” also urges parents to familiarize themselves with the virtual worlds their children visit.

According to the findings, although little explicit content appears in child-oriented virtual worlds, virtual worlds aimed at teenagers and adults contained a moderate to heavy amount of explicit content.…Read More