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Classrooms and Communities Online:
Getting Involved

Schools and Technology

78% of U.S. public schools have some access to the Internet.12

63% of schools with a large proportion of students from poor families have access to the Internet, compared to 88% of schools with higher-income students.13

27% of all public school instructional rooms have Internet access.14

Acceptable Use Policies

Many state departments of education and local school districts have recommended that schools develop a contract with every student using online services at school to insure they are using the Information Superhighway appropriately. Called Acceptable Use Policies, these contracts encourage responsible behavior by students and give teachers enforceable rules; for example:

  • The network should be used in a way that is consistent with the school's code of conduct.

  • Students should share the system and be careful not to monopolize it.

  • The network should be used for educational purposes (e.g., students should avoid placing commercial advertising online without permission).

The policies also ban illegal activity like:

  • Selling drugs or other illegal materials online

  • Using copyrighted material without permission

  • Using networks to view indecent or obscene materials

  • Creating or distributing computer viruses

  • Using somebody else's name or code number to send or receive messages

  • Sending racist, sexist, inflammatory, or obscene messages

  • "Hacking" of any kind.

Failure to abide by the rules can result in suspension of computer privileges or even prosecution.

Resources For Further Help

Below is a starter list of printed materials, organizations, and other places you can turn to for help. These are some of the resources we found most helpful, though there are many others.

Books and Manuals

America's Children & The Information Superhighway, The Children's Partnership, 1994 and 1996 Update. Available online at

Child Safety on the Information Superhighway, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 1994. A brochure available online at

A Parents' Guide to the Internet… and how to protect your children in cyberspace, Parry Aftab, Esq., SC Press, New York, NY 1997. Available online at

The Internet Kids & Family Yellow Pages, Second Edition, Jean Armour Polly, Osbourne McGraw-Hill, Berkeley, CA 1997. Excerpts online at

Leadership & Technology: What School Board Members Need to Know, National School Boards Association, 1995. Write or call: NSBA Distribution Center, PO Box 161, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701-0161; (800) 706-6722; Fax (301) 604-0158.

Making the Net Work for You: How to Get the Most Out of Going Online, Interactive Services Association and National Consumers League, 1996. Available online at

Parents Guide to the Internet, U.S. Department of Education, November 1997. Guide free of charge. Visit

Web of Deception, Threats to Children from Online Marketing, Center for Media Education, 1996. Excerpts available online at

Nonprofit Organizations

American Library Association

Benton Foundation

Center for Children and Technology

The Center for Democracy and Technology

Center for Media Education

Center for Media Literacy

The Children's Partnership,

Community Technology Centers' Network

The Electronic Frontier Foundation


National Parent Information Network,

National Council of La Raza

National PTA

National School Boards Association

National Urban League

Organization for Community Networks,

Public Access Network Directory

Project OPEN

Federal Government

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology

Federal Communications Commission

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