In Your Face

In Your Face
Thought provoking opinions on topical issues.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Putting the Genie Back into the Bottle

MSN have announced that they will be shutting down their chat rooms. This, they say, is being done to protect children from paedophiles.

I have a number of observations:

 Whilst, at first sight, their action seems very laudable; MSN have been running chat rooms for a number of years (I don’t not know their cost/revenue stream). Shutting them down now has given them a good day’s publicity.

 There are countless other companies running chat rooms on the net. The chatters and paedophiles will simply go elsewhere.

 Aside from the internet, there are also chat rooms run by phone companies. Chatters and paedophiles can use these as well.

 Adults teach children to be wary of strangers, and not to talk to them when they are out in public. However, the very rationale of the chat room (set up and marketed by adults) is that it is a place where strangers can come together and get to know each other. This double standard is, I suspect, not lost on children.

In short, the genie is out of the bottle; you are unlikely

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