How to make school Chromebooks CIPA Compliant?

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If your school or district is subject to the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), then you need to enforce a CIPA-compliant Internet safety policy that includes technology protection measures.

That, of course, includes blocking unsafe content and monitoring harmful browsing activities on Chromebooks and all school devices. 

In this blog post we’ll focus on (drumroll please!) — Chromebooks. 

Here are five effective ways K12 sysadmins can ensure CIPA compliance for their managed Chromebook fleet.

How to make your school Chromebooks CIPA Compliant?

 

1. Use a CIPA Compliant Chromebook content filtering solution

Let’s start from the very beginning — Content filtering.

The easiest and most effective way to filter content in Chrome is by deploying site access control for Chrome browsing.

Chrome URL filtering

This helps you automatically block URLs and web categories as mandated by the CIPA’s internet filtering requirements.

You can create whitelists and block lists for websites, allowing students to only access specific safe websites.

Chrome Keyword filtering

Content filtering based on certain keywords or phrases, Ad placement, and link analysis helps you get more granular with your filtering efforts.

It’s the next step to make your content filtering efforts Wholesome!

How to make School Chromebooks CIPA Compliant?

Lock ‘SafeSearch’ for your Chromebook fleet

While SafeSearch isn’t 100% accurate, it’s still a good step to filter out explicit content in Google search results for all queries across images, videos, and websites.

All minors (under the age of 18) signed in using their Google Workspace for Education accounts have SafeSearch ON by default across all browsers.

However, as an admin you can set SafeSearch preferences at a device level using the Admin console.

 

2. Monitor Chrome Browsing Activity

According to CIPA, schools must also ensure their Internet safety policies include monitoring the online activities of minors.

Now that you’ve installed some content fences to safeguard minors from inappropriate content, let’s monitor student Chrome browsing activity.

In fact, browsing activity can be one of the first whistle blowers of student online danger. For example, a student entering a ‘self-harm’ search query is a big red flag.

Using a third-party tool like GAT Shield you can monitor all searches happening on your school’s Chrome devices. You can also set up real-time alerts for dangerous search queries.

 

Monitor YouTube browsing activity

Let’s not forget about YouTube.

While many schools may not be able to completely block YouTube for educational purposes, monitoring YouTube browsing in this case becomes essential.

Make sure to audit student’s Chromebook YouTube browsing activities and check what they’re publishing on YouTube.

This will help you improve how YouTube is being used across your school, and detect harmful uploads, like cyberbullying videos.

SEE: YouTube Access Blocking in Google Workspace (5 Admin Options)

 

3. Manage Chromebook Downloads

Downloads are another important area on your Chromebook CIPA compliance checklist.

Ideally, you want to monitor and manage domain-wide downloads, with the ability to report on and remove questionable downloads on Chromebooks.

 

4. Deploy Managed Guest Sessions

Got shared Chromebook devices in common areas like IT rooms or libraries? — Make sure to configure managed guest sessions for those devices.

Managed guest sessions give multiple users access to shared Chrome devices without needing to sign in. Meanwhile admins can control how the browsing sessions can be used by enforcing a variety of Chrome security policies

Here’s how to set up Managed guest sessions using GAT Shield.

 

5. Set up Chromebook Security

Securing your Chromebooks against cybersecurity hazards is another important part of your CIPA compliance.

We’ve created a separate mini-guide on the subject to help you cover all its essential areas.

SEE: The Admin’s 5-minute guide to Chromebook Security.

 

Closing thoughts

Schools and libraries subject to CIPA need to certify that they have an Internet safety policy that includes technology protection. Otherwise they can’t avail of discounts offered by the E-rate program.

The above measures will help you make your Chromebooks CIPA compliant from the technical and administrative side.

But don’t forget, a CIPA-compliant Internet Safety Policy is never complete without educating minors about appropriate online behaviour.

That includes teaching them about digital citizenship and cyberbullying awareness and response.

Audit. Manage. Protect.

Discover how Management & Security Services can help you with deeper insight and on-call, personalized assistance.

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