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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Yahoo Bans Teens from Using Online Chatrooms...

thereby creating a built-in defense for pedophiles who use the same chatrooms. To wit, consider that now, each person who signs up for Yahoo Chat must attest to their age in the EULA. Anyone with common sense knows that kids who are intent on using online chatrooms will simply lie about their age, just like they do for buying cigarettes/alcohol/porn magazines. So now, the state can no longer prosecute pedophiles based upon the assumption that they knew the age of the victim.

Furthermore, this "solution" ignores the real issue - parental negligence. Instead of invoking the powers of the "internet police", why don't we insist that parents actually do their job and parent? Maybe limiting your child's time online, engaging them in non-virtual activities, or simply spending time with them instead of shoving them away would do much toward discouraging kids from running to chatrooms for social interaction. Heck, you could even try a techie solution such as using a proxy server to filter internet traffic, blocking chat apps at the router, or blocking ActiveX controls in the browser.

So what does this move by Yahoo accomplish? It lets the government claim that they are doing something to combat pedophilia. It lets Yahoo off the hook for any claims of liability against them. It lets parents ignore their obligations to protect and raise their children. Finally, it enables pedophiles to have the excuse of plausible deniability. It should be obvious that this is a bad solution all around. Instead of looking to the nanny-state, parents need to step up and take responsibility for their kids and tell the government to concentrate their efforts elsewhere.


.: posted by Dave 8:49 AM

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