In developing practices to ensure safe and responsible Internet use by students, teachers and administrators must be aware of, and implement as required, the relevant laws.
- Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) - The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) was enacted by Congress in 2000 to address concerns about children's access to obscene or harmful content over the Internet. Schools and libraries subject to CIPA must have an Internet safety policy that includes technology protection measures, including the monitoring of online activities of minors. In addition, per the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, schools are also required to educate minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response.
- The Dignity for All Students Act - The Dignity Act, which prohibits discrimination or harassment, including bullying, taunting or intimidation, added Article 2 to the Education Law (Sections 10 through 18) in 2012. A year later, the Act was amended to include cyberbullying as part of the definition of “harassment and bullying.” Cyberbullying is defined as harassment or bullying which occurs through any form of electronic communication. The New York State Dignity for All Students Act (Dignity Act): A Resource and Promising Practices Guide for School Administrators and Faculty was developed by the Dignity Act Task Force to assist schools in implementing the Dignity for All Students Act.
The Dignity for All Students Act also requires instruction in safe, responsible use of the Internet and electronic communications. The following resources may be useful in this effort:
- Citizenship in the Digital Age - Sample Lesson Plans for Grades 1-12 was created by New York City librarians, for use by school librarians and teachers. The lessons gathered here offer beginning guidance to all those in the field addressing the needs of 21st century students.
- The National Crime Prevention Council provides information and resources to address issues of internet safety, cell phone safety, and cyberbullying.
- Netsmartz, from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, provides a free collection of teaching materials on online safety for grades K-12. It includes Spanish language resources for grades K-2 and 3-5.
- Common Sense Education has published a K–12 digital citizenship program that includes lessons and comprehensive learning resources for students, teachers, and family members.
- The Cyberbullying Research Center offers a variety of materials on preventing cyberbullying, especially for teenagers.