The Communications Decency Act (CDA) is enacted, making it a crime to distribute online material deemed indecent or patently offensive to minors.


In A.C.L.U. v Reno, the Supreme Court strikes down much of the CDA as unconstitutional censorship.


The Child Online Protection Act (COPA) is enacted. This law amends the Communications Act of 1934, criminalizing online commercial distribution of material deemed harmful to minors. The law immediately begins to face First Amendment challenges, including a federal court injunction that prevents it from going into effect.Also in 1998, Congress passes the Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act, which strengthens existing laws and creates a new provision forbidding transmission of information about minors for criminal sexual purposes.


The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is enacted. This law mandates Internet filters in schools and libraries that receive federal funding for their Internet connections.


Pursuant to the Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998, the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board releases its study “Youth, Pornography, and the Internet.” The report, co-edited by former US Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, determined that social and educational strategies are the only way to teach youth to navigate the Internet safely. The report used a swimming pool analogy: teaching children how to swim is more beneficial than building a fence around the pool.


In U.S. v. American Library Association, the Supreme Court upholds CIPA as a constitutional condition attached to government funds.


In Ashcroft v. A.C.L.U., the Supreme Court upholds the injunction on enforcement of COPA.


The Deleting Online Predators Act, which would ban social networking in schools receiving government funding, passes the House but dies in the Senate.


After the Democrats take over Congress, the "Deleting Online Predators Act of 2007" is introduced but does not go far.


The Attorneys General Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking and MySpace creates an Internet Safety Technical Task Force (ISTTF) at Harvard’s Berkman Center, which releases its report at the end of that year. The report identifies sexual predation by adults as a diminishing threat, being replaced by peer-to-peer cyberbullying.Also in 2008, Congress passed the PROTECT Act to combat child pornography, as well as the Broadband Data Improvement Act, which mandates an FTC Internet safety campaign as well as a working group to study the current state of online safety.


Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-FL) introduces the Adolescent Web Awareness Requires Education (AWARE) Act.Also in 2009, the Supreme Court finally kills COPA officially by denying review of a 3rd circuit decision finding the law facially invalid.


The Online Safety and Technology Working Group authorized by the Broadband Data Improvement Act releases its report “Youth Safety on a Living Internet” pursuant to the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, which was passed two years earlier as part of the Broadband Data Improvement Act. The report takes the position that new media education is essential to protecting twenty-first century youth.Also in 2010, Craigslist begins to censor its adult services section, succumbing to years of pressure from government officials who accuse the site of promoting child sex trafficking.


Twenty-one states now have Internet filtering laws similar to CIPA. One state – Florida – has adopted legislation that encourages Internet safety education programs in public libraries.