Empowering parents, protecting children: understanding the SCOPE Act in schools

Children are increasingly exposed to the digital world. Ensuring their safety and well-being online has become a major concern for parents and educators alike. In response to these challenges, lawmakers have introduced the Securing Children Online through Parental Empowerment (SCOPE) Act, aimed at providing tools and resources to safeguard children's online experiences.

March 8 2024 by

Mat Pullen

books and iPad sitting on top of a desk

In this blog post, we'll explore the key provisions of the SCOPE Act and what it means for schools in their mission to protect and educate students in the digital age.

What is the SCOPE Act?

The SCOPE Act is a legislative initiative designed to address the growing concerns surrounding children's online safety. It recognizes the need for proactive measures to protect children from various online threats, including cyberbullying, inappropriate content and online predators. The act aims to empower parents with the resources and knowledge they need to effectively monitor and manage their children's online activities while promoting digital literacy and responsible internet usage.

Key provisions:

  1. Parental control tools: One of the central provisions of the SCOPE Act is the promotion of parental control tools and software that enable parents to monitor and manage their children's online activities. These tools may include content filters, time limits, and activity-tracking features, allowing parents to set boundaries and protect their children from harmful content and interactions.
  2. Internet safety: Specifically, the SCOPE Act mentions, "in relation to a known minor’s use of a digital service, a digital service provider shall develop and implement a strategy to prevent the known minor’s exposure to harmful material and other content that promotes, glorifies, or facilitates:
  • Suicide, self-harm, or eating disorders;
  • Substance abuse;
  • Stalking, bullying, or harassment; or
  • Grooming, trafficking, child pornography or other sexual exploitation or abuse."

Implications for schools

The SCOPE Act has several implications for schools in their efforts to promote online safety and protect students:

  1. Parental engagement: digital services must provide verified parents with access to and control over a minor’s account. Specifically, the Act stipulates that parents should have tools to "supervise" the minor’s account (§509.054(a)) by managing "privacy and account settings" and regulating access time, as well as limiting the minor's purchases or financial transactions through the digital service (§509.054(b)). However, it remains unclear whether the term "supervise" in §509.054(a) and the reference to "settings" in §509.054(b) extend to granting parental access to the minor’s content and messages.
  2. Policy development: Schools may need to review and update their policies and procedures to align with the provisions of the Act. This may include implementing guidelines for acceptable internet use, establishing reporting mechanisms for online incidents and incorporating parental consent requirements for certain online activities.
  3. Curriculum integration: Schools may need to integrate internet safety education into their curriculum, ensuring that students receive comprehensive instruction on topics such as online privacy, cybersecurity and responsible social media usage.
  4. Resource allocation: Schools may need to allocate resources to support the implementation of the SCOPE Act, including investing in technology infrastructure, training staff members and purchasing parental control software or educational materials.

How Jamf can support schools

Jamf provides a variety of tools that can support schools in meeting any specific goals around protecting students online. In particular, Jamf Parent is a tool designed specifically to allow parents or carers to place limits on device usage such as access to apps or websites at specific times when the device is away from school. Jamf Parent, as a part of Jamf’s management tools, provides time-based approaches within the management profile to support parents when devices leave the school. Schools can determine exactly when control is provided to parents so they can have ownership of not only internet access but also access to any of the functionality and applications on the iPad.

Then there’s Jamf Safe Internet, which provides content filtering and network threat protection to ensure students are safe whenever they are online — those same content filters in place on school networks, are also in place when the child accesses the internet on any network. All of this can be customized based on the child’s age or stage in education. These tools prevent students from accessing harmful content based on categories determined by the school, covering all inappropriate and harmful areas outlined in the SCOPE Act.

Note: The SCOPE Act is a specific act for Texas, however, the solution that Jamf provides applies to any education users who want to support parental engagement and home usage of devices.

Jamf can help safeguard your students' online experiences.