I found a very helpful webpage called A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety. I recommend bookmarking this one. In fact, you may just want to save this post and all the information in it.
About children and inappropriate conduct on the internet, of note should be the following: The Child Online Protection Act (COPA) and The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Best to know what they are, what they cover, what’s passed, what’s in effect and how it assists you, including the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Unfortunately, laws meant to protect children don’t always work so it’s often essential for parents to take a hands-on approach to their children’s online activities. Whether it’s familiarizing yourself with Inappropriate Content for Children, researching Predators who groom and exploit children or becoming more aware of Children As Victims, parents are often the first line of defense.
Thanks to Megan’s Law, passed in 1996 as an amendment to the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children’s Act, every state and the District of Columbia require sex offenders to register with state or local law enforcement officials after being released from prison. In 2007, President Bush signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (called the “Adam Walsh Act,” or AWA). It requires registration for persons convicted of sex-crimes against minors. The Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website is an invaluable tool and you can even sign up for free services such as Family Watchdog to stay informed of what’s happening in your area.
As a matter of interest, the Citizen’s Guide to U.S. Federal Law on Obscenity and the Citizen’s Guide to U.S. Federal Law on Child Pornography (despite the statutes) are educational reads. Pornography and Sexual Predators can be helpful as well. Interpol states that crimes against children are facilitated by the Internet, the increased use of which in recent years has led to a huge rise in offending. Not only can offenders distribute and access child abuse material more easily, but they can also come into direct contact with children – via chatrooms and social networking sites and I think reporting it is everyone’s business.
However, when reading up on Federal Restrictions on Cyber Porn and Disseminating Cyber Porn to Minors, it leads to questions about State laws on Internet pornography and crimes against minors, which vary state to state, as you can see in the screen shots below.