The Internet Safety and Child Protection Act was introduced to the Senate on July 27, 2005. It was referred to a committee Oct. 12, 2005, but the session of Congress ended before it passed. Once a Congress session ends, all bills and resolutions are cleared from the books and must be reintroduced.
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The purpose of the Internet Safety and Child Protection Act was to protect children from Internet pornography and to combat other forms of pornographic crimes against children. It was intended to impose tighter age verification standards on pornographic websites, ensuring a user attempting to view the website was 18 years or older. The act required that the age verification happen before the user would be able to view any content, even if the content was free.
This legislation would have reduced the occurrences of children accessing pornographic Internet sites accidentally. When a child searches the Internet and enters something mistakenly, the child may receive a list of results that include pornographic material. Had this act been passed into law, if the child clicked on a pornographic site, the site would have requested their age before displaying inappropriate material. The child would not have been able to access the site and would be protected.
Legislation that protects children from Internet pornography and related crimes is very important. While parents should regulate what their children do on the Internet and should communicate with them what is appropriate and what is not, they are not always able to protect them fully. Children do not always understand what will be displayed on an Internet page when looking at the description in a search list. If they click on an inappropriate site and are allowed access without restriction, they may be affected by the things they see.
There is legislation that protects children while they are on the Internet. The Children's Internet Protection Act regulates what children can access from a school or library computer. This regulation applies to schools and libraries that receive funding from the E-rate program for their Internet access. The E-rate program makes certain communications technology affordable for eligible facilities. These facilities must have a method to block or filter inappropriate Internet content on computers that are accessible to minors.
Even with this legislation, children are not always safe online. Predators lurk in many areas, even those that are considered safe. Parents should always monitor what their children are doing while they are accessing the Internet, and they should ensure their school and library do the same while their children are in these locations. Parents should also talk with their children and make sure they know what is appropriate to do and say online and to contact an adult if they are contacted online by someone they do not know.
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