Children’s Internet Protection Act

What Does Children’s Internet Protection Act Mean?

The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is federal law that mandates the use of Internet filters and other measures to protect children from explicit and inappropriate content.


Congress enacted CIPA in 2001 to protect minors from offensive Internet content accessible through publicly funded organizations, such as schools and libraries. Public administrators, including teachers and librarians, are responsible for overseeing and ensuring CIPA adherence.

Techopedia Explains Children’s Internet Protection Act

E-rate is a federal program that provides Internet service discounts to CIPA-compliant schools and libraries. Per CIPA, funded organizations must adopt Internet monitoring systems and adhere to formal Internet safety documentation and reporting requirements.

CIPA regulations issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are as follows:

  • Funded institutions must provide suitable and effective Internet safety policies.
  • Unsafe content, such as child pornography or other potentially disturbing images, must be blocked.
  • Qualifying institutions must hold a minimum of one public hearing and provide ample notice regarding safety proposals.

Although most public organizations restrict access to Facebook and other social network websites, CIPA recipients must develop and set Internet safety policies for monitoring Web, instant messaging, chat and email use.

CIPA does not mandate tracking Internet use but is considered a legislative standard for blocking minors from accessing harmful Internet content.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…