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Yahoo Closes Chat Rooms to Anyone Under 18 680

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-chat-for-you-kid dept.
Talaria writes "Yahoo has announced that they are closing all of their chat rooms to anyone under eighteen, following an agreement with New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer, who began investigating the Yahoo! chat situation earlier this year, said "We need to be vigilant to protect our children.""
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Yahoo Closes Chat Rooms to Anyone Under 18

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  • by Carthag (643047) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:35PM (#13777716) Homepage
    Where are they going to chat now?
    • by femto (459605) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:38PM (#13777749) Homepage
      Yahoo's shopping centre?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:39PM (#13777757)
      Oviously these teens will just stop chatting, ensuring their safety.

      Also if you make using a condom a sinful act, teens will stop having sex.

      Haven't you figured it out yet? :P
    • by Craptastic Weasel (770572) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:39PM (#13777760)
      Well.. seeing as how a simple age restriction does nothing to prevent children under the ages required to smoke, drink or view porn, they'll be there, just now they will all be lying about their age.

      This seems like a political solution to a problem that would be better handled by actual parents moderating chat rooms and moderating their children...

      But then again that problem exists in society as a whole (see also: Video Games, Television etc.) so maybe the solution is not so easy.
      • by xero314 (722674) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:53PM (#13777883)
        What? Parents actully have some clue of what their children are doing? Not here in the US (hopefully other countries are a little better than us).

        I have been saying this same thing for a long time. I only hope that some day I see a Slashdot article that reads "Parent Jailed for not knowing what their child is doing"

        The solution is "easy", even if it is a bit authoritarian. Mandatory sterilization.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @11:27PM (#13778998)
          I solved this problem by installing VNC software on all the computers in the house, waiting until the kids enter a chatroom and engage in... dubious... behavior, and setting the wallpaper to be embarrassing chatlogs right as I walk by to ask them a question about how school was. One child literally threw the monitor off of the desk to keep me from seeing the wallpaper I set. I should have made a video.
          Another good one is to keep note of chat logs and start introducing quotes from them into normal conversation. They won't say anything just in case you don't know, but the look on their face is priceless.
          Needless to say, my kids have the shit scared out of them every time they're looking at something they shouldn't be. Ah, the joys of being a parent that can code in the internet age ;)
      • by NotBorg (829820) * on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @09:59PM (#13778593)

        [...] better handled by actual parents moderating chat rooms and moderating their children...

        Just the other day I gave my little Johnny a Troll (-1) for posting to a 25 year old woman from Texas. Not that I have anything against Texas, mind you, I just feel that Johnny could do better. She wasn't that hot.

        Only by taking an active roll in our kids's lives can this kind of treachery be stopped.

      • Well.. seeing as how a simple age restriction does nothing to prevent children under the ages required to smoke, drink or view porn
        You are right..
        IMHO, this is not about 'protecting the children', it is about Yahoo protecting itself. In the end, the benefits of allowing children to use the chat room did not exceed the risk or liability. Some online services may not specifically restrict by age but they do require a credit card for verification and/or payment. Just tonight, I had to use my CC to allow my
      • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @11:14PM (#13778935) Homepage
        Well.. seeing as how a simple age restriction does nothing to prevent children under the ages required to smoke, drink or view porn, they'll be there, just now they will all be lying about their age.

        Indeed. I sure as hell wouldn't provide Yahoo with the information required to legally prove I'm an adult. Imagine if every web-site not trying to run afoul of these kinds of things demanded real, verifiable proof of identity and age (credit history, biometrics ....) Screw that!

        This seems like a political solution to a problem that would be better handled by actual parents moderating chat rooms and moderating their children...

        Well, kids can get access to the web all over the place, and IM is pretty ubiquitous. It's probably damned near impossible for parents to actually police what their children are doing with every computer they get near. Hell, they've had "boss keys" in games for years, I'm sure my nephew could out-fox my brother on the computer.

        Unfortunately, as I said, I really do worry about how such things will affect the rest of the netizens. Cause as soon as people figure out teens won't have any compunction about lying to Yahoo about their age, someone will start legislating ID requirements for everyone on line to prove age.

        And then we can start to get really paranoid about what's next, because every site will already have all of your information dutifully logged and tied to your activities.
      • by AstroDrabb (534369) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:02AM (#13779155)
        This seems like a political solution...
        A "political solution" is really just smoke an mirrors for a politician so that they can get re-elected to office or elected to a new office. It lets our politicians have something to point at and say "see, I did this great thing while I was in this office, that is why you need to elect me to this new office".

        This Spitzer idiot will actually tell people that he "kept their children safe" and believe it or not, there will be tons of other idiots that will think it is true : (

        There are a lot of funny things like this in the USA. At 17, I was able to sign up for the US Marine Corps. At 18, I was allowed to enter the US Marine Coprs. I went in in 1991, during that whole Gulf War thingy. The funny thing to me (now at the age of 32) is that I was allowed by the US federal govt. to sign my life over to them to possible fight and die for my country at _only_ 18, yet I was not old enough to buy and drink a beer! I guess uncle Sam really knows what is best for us.

    • by haydon4 (123439) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:50PM (#13777855)
      Where are they going to chat now?

      Oh, I don't know, how about face to face with people their own age where they can learn such things as manners, etiquette, constructive dialog, the fact that "teh" is not a word. Not to mention that one kid can't say something disrespectful, disparaging, or derogatory about another without immediately being smacked in the face like we used to do in the good ol' days.
      • by 3nd32 (855123) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:55PM (#13777896)
        Sorry, doesn't work that way. Remember, "violence never solved anything". Smack anyone and get suspended. It matters less and less whether you're at school. Oh, and your parents'll get sued.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @09:11PM (#13778361)
          "Remember, "violence never solved anything"."

          That's a value assumption on your behalf. Millions of years of biological evolution would say otherwise. Just because you are morally outraged at the fact that species such as humanity have used violence for millions of years to curb socially inadequate behaviour doesn't mean that violence doesn't serve a purpose.

          People seem to think that violence is completely negative, however it has served a purpose throughout history. To stick your fingers in your ears and scream at the immorality of violence, because your modern values demand peace, would be to deny the bloodbath of human history. Some examples of violence being used to "solve problems" include gaining the resources of others and most importantly to defend against loss of status and ones resources. These are important things in a social species such as humans. Am I saying that violence is the only way? No. But you'd be stupid to think that it never solved anything when history says otherwise.

          • by Damer Face (910606) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @01:37AM (#13779568)
            > That's a value assumption on your behalf.

            One's appraisal of history is a series of value judgments of a series of value judgements. To believe otherwise is most definitely stupid.

            > Millions of years of biological evolution would say otherwise.
            > Just because you are morally outraged at the fact that species such as
            > humanity have used violence for millions of years to curb socially inadequate > behaviour doesn't mean that violence doesn't serve a purpose.

            Well we're trying to put some of that behind us now, you know, the throwing of shit and hanging from trees by our tails. In all seriousness, apes are largely better behaved than we are. They argue, they beat their chests, they don't usually start laying into each other. And they don't kill each other. They do have orgies though. Maybe that's the secret.

            In most species of animal, if any violence between competing males does occur, it is a recognised loss of status on someone's part that prevents further violence.

            > People seem to think that violence is completely negative, however it has
            > served a purpose throughout history.

            The violence of self-defence is arguably justified. I believe it is, others don't.

            Most violence committed throughout history has been in the name of king and country, for the empire, the fatherland, the glorious republic, so some power-hungry visionary fool can have more lives to play with. I don't readily see the justification in that.

            > To stick your fingers in your ears and scream at the immorality of violence,
            > because your modern values demand peace, would be to deny the bloodbath of
            > human history.

            Some of us are promoting the ideas of progress, evolution, civilisation: let's push things forward. Enough with your atavistic recourse to murder.

            > Some examples of violence being used to "solve problems" include gaining the
            > resources of others and most importantly to defend against loss of status

            I think there are laws against this sort of attitude and with good reason. And "most importantly [...] loss of status" ... ? The most breathtakingly ridiculous thing I've heard all week. Be advised that if you publicly prove me wrong, you'll have justified me smashing your face in with a brick.

            > and ones resources.

            That too is arguably justified, although less so than self-defence. I'm also going to advocate the slaughter of animals to serve my need for all sorts of delicious meat products, but I don't think I'd bother to try to justify it.

            > These are important things in a social species such as humans.

            Important to those who, like dogs, need to know their place in the order. And I'm guessing most us on slashdot would be somewhere near the bottom.

            > Am I saying that violence is the only way? No. But you'd be stupid to think
            > that it never solved anything when history says otherwise.

            See top.
        • Sorry, doesn't work that way. Remember, "violence never solved anything".

          Such a tired cliche, and totally without basis in fact too. Just ask Tojo, or Hitler, or Napoleon, or Stalin, or the former residents of ancient Carthage whether violence ever solved anything.

      • by Pharmboy (216950) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:44PM (#13778215) Journal
        Oh, I don't know, how about face to face with people their own age where they can learn such things as manners, etiquette, constructive dialog, the fact that "teh" is not a word.

        So if your kid hangs out with other kids, he will start saying "Please" and "Thank You", use the small fork for his salad and put the napkin on his lamp, plus have conversations about current events AND speak proper English with improved grammar?

        I agree that face to face interaction teachs them that actions have consequences, like getting popped in the mouth for talking trash, but they can also try out some stuff they saw on Jackass or Crank Yankers.

        The internet doesn't screw up kids, apothetic parents do.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:17PM (#13778044)
      C'mon everyone, read the (second) linked article:

      "Under the agreement, one of the nation's leading internet service providers, Yahoo!, has removed and barred the posting of user-created chat rooms with names that promoted sex between minors and adults"

      No, not all chatrooms... No, not all minors...
  • There goes (Score:5, Funny)

    by DustyShadow (691635) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:36PM (#13777718) Homepage
    90% of their traffic...
    • Re:There goes (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bombadillo (706765) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:41PM (#13777781)
      Parent poster is right. There goes a lot of there business. If parents are truly worried they should put their childs computer in the living room. Our society seems eager to blame businesses and schools instead of the lack of parenting.
      • Re:There goes (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hal9000(jr) (316943)
        Spoken like a true non-parent. As a step parent I can tell you it is very, very difficult to balance giving kids the trust they need to grow up to be healthy adults and micro-managing thier every move. Yes,parents should be responsible and put the computer where they can see what the kids are doing. But let's face it, some of these scum bags talk a pretty convicing game and it's easy to see how kids who are generally non to savvy, would fall for sweet talk. And let's face, kids do stupid, rotten things som
        • Re:There goes (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Seumas (6865) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:26PM (#13778097)
          Ah, the parent poster is applying the "raising children is not as easy as squirting them out and this is so hard so I blame everyone else for the crap my child does and gets into rather than accepting that I'm ultimately the one liable for how they behave, the choices they make and the punishments they are given" justification.

          If you don't think your child has enough common sense to avoid meeting random internet strangers (come on, you get the "don't talk to strangers" lecture when you're old enough to walk) and you don't feel you can properly parent your children to the point that you aren't worried about them making such ridiculous choices, then simply don't allow your child to have internet access.

          Seriously, what the hell is up with parents these days? "It's so hard to keep my child from watching bad stuff on television" -- don't let them watch television. "My child runs up a huge cell phone bill that I have to pay" -- don't buy your kid a cellphone. "My child can't be trusted not to get drunk and drive their car wrecklessly" -- don't allow your kids to drive.

          I mean... come ON... People have been raising children for eons with every-changing technology and societal structures. There's nothing special that makes the current generation of parents' job so fucking impossible above and beyond every other generation in the history of humanity. This just illustrates the biological problem of nature making people want to marry and reproduce based on the symmetrical qualities of the face, size of tits and width of child-bearing hips rather than common sense and intellect.
          • Re:There goes (Score:5, Interesting)

            by cowscows (103644) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @10:59PM (#13778861) Journal
            Look, just because someone will admit that raising a kid isn't the easiest thing in the world, and that they don't mind a little help doesn't make them a huge whiner hell bent on making themselves look like some special victim of circumstance.

            Your answer, don't let them have internet access, is not much of a solution either. I think that parent can make a pretty good argument that technology/computers/internet are all going to be substantial factors in their children's lives, and exposing them to the technology has a lot of potential benefits. Of course there are also potential downsides, but here's a parent that's trying to navigate through these, and is grateful for any help they can get.

            And I don't know where the rest of your argument came from. The parent poster said nothing about cellphone bills or drunk driving, you're just ranting to try and make your points seem more valid I guess. You're right that people have been raising children for eons. So what? Through those eons, I have no doubt that there were plenty of dumb or naive kids that made lots of stupid choices and had to face unpleasant consequences. I don't think the past offers us any easy solutions that we're just conveniently ignoring. People lived for eons without electricity too, I don't see what make the current generation so special that they deserve to have electric lights and refridgeration.

            Locking children into boxes and not giving them any privileges or responsibilities is not a good way to prepare them for the real world. So your solution doesn't work. Letting a kid run free throughout the world usually isn't very successful either. You've obviously observed that. Maybe the correct solution is somewhere in the middle, where a parent tries to balance freedom and limits to allow their children to grow in a safer manner. That seems like a pretty tough task, and I don't think it's a bad thing for parents to appreciate support and help from the community.
    • Re:There goes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot&uberm00,net> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:56PM (#13777911) Homepage Journal
      Actually, 90% of their traffic will just have several consecutive birthdays and then update their Yahoo profile. Methinks Yahoo! will be getting a lot of 18 year olds very soon ;^)
    • Re:There goes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:14PM (#13778025) Journal
      But atleast now when you're watching underaged girls strip on webcam you have plausable deniability. Yahoo said you had to be 18 to join the chats, how were you supposed to know?
  • Yeah right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by scenestar (828656) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:36PM (#13777722) Homepage Journal
    And how are they going to verify age?
  • by rbanzai (596355) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:36PM (#13777726)
    Good thing there's no way around this system. It's not like anyone could lie about their age on the internet.

    Way to go Yahoo/Spitzer!
  • by yamamushi (903955) <yamamushi&gmail,com> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:36PM (#13777728) Homepage
    I seriously doubt they are going to effectively stop anyone under 18 from using their chatrooms. It's just a minor change to your DOB and wha-la, your in.
  • Ban Phones (Score:4, Insightful)

    by codepunk (167897) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:37PM (#13777734)
    Well hell people could talk to each other on there, they had better ban phones also.
  • by CaptainCarrot (84625) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:38PM (#13777741)
    Because, you know, there are no other chat rooms anywhere else on the Internet.
  • In other news. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Talondel (693866) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:38PM (#13777755)
    New York officials also annouced plans to close public parks to anyone under 18. They made this decision after realizing that child predators know that children like to play unsupervised in parks. When asked about this decision, officals replied "We need to be vigilant to protect our children."
    • And by the end of the year, plans are in place to outfit every child with an ankle bracelet and barcode on their forehead. And children will only be allowed to not leave their residence except for school. All other activities are banned in an effort to be vigilant to protect the children. Children will also not be allowed to play in their yard. Any child violating these laws will be confiscated and sold to the highest bidder. If there are no bids, they will be fed to Cthulhu.
    • the end (Score:3, Interesting)

      The NY AG's office has announced that they will now prosecute anyone found in a bedroom, because children are molested in bedrooms. The NYC DA, not wishing to be outdone, has promised to prosecute people found indoors without a permit, which his office won't be prepared to provide for at least another year. NY Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton later announced that if elected president, she will just generally outlaw people.
    • by JimBobJoe (2758) <swiftheart@gm a i l . com> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @11:25PM (#13778989)
      New York officials also annouced plans to close public parks to anyone under 18.

      Clearly you didn't catch fark a few days ago, as something similar occurred.

      Woman Ticketed For Sitting On Park Bench With No Kids [wfmynews2.com]

      "New York, NY -- It's an only in New York story. A woman was given a ticket for sitting on a park bench because she doesn't have children.

      The Rivington Playground on Manhattan's East Side has a small sign at the entrance that says adults are prohibited unless they are accompanied by a child....The city parks department said the rule is designed to keep pedophiles out of city parks, but a parks spokesman told the Daily News that the department hoped police would use some common sense when enforcing the rule"

  • Fragging children. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SB5 (165464) <freebirdpat@@@hotmail...com> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:39PM (#13777756)
    Seriously. Why is it the government's job to protect the children? Thats a parental responsibility. What next, ban AOL IM under the age of 18? It is IMPOSSIBLE to enforce such an age limit. If you protect them from every single thing that can hurt them, when they grow up they will have no defenses to deal with any situation.

    Sadly. I also agree with Yahoo's decision here. Although now the defense of... "Yahoo doesn't allow underage people from chatting, so I thought he/she was at least 18!
    • by stfvon007 (632997) <enigmar007@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:47PM (#13777835) Journal
      Lets just put each child in a room with padded walls, no windows and a TV tuned to Seseme Street 24 hours a day. They will be provided with KidChow(TM) and Water. When they reach 18 they will be released into the wild safely having grown up without anything evil affecting them.
    • The government is not protecting children. They just sent thousands of 18 year olds to Iraq. They don't give a flying fuck.

      Yahoo and other organizations are blocking out the group with the most potential to make damaging comments bad enough that the forums can get sued. And if you have seen some of the other public forums, teenagers are absolutely out of control.

      And no, politicans are not blocking video game violence for kids. They are doing it for their own political agenda.

    • The goal of a parent is not to navigate their kids through life, but to give them a map about life.
  • by TexTex (323298) * on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:39PM (#13777762)
    Pretty soon they'll close their chat rooms to men who pretend to be women online... That should cut back on traffic as well.

  • I wonder (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nEoN nOoDlE (27594) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:42PM (#13777788) Homepage
    It seems like every censorship law these days is being made "for the children." I wonder where this idea comes from, since we've started lapping it up like ice cream. Is there any historical precedence in the US or other countries where the government is so obsessed with "the children" being exposed to anything that might be considered harmful or innapropriate? I'm just wondering. I was a child of the late 80s and early 90s and wasn't so politically involved then, but don't really remember it being such a craze to shelter all the kids.
    • Yes, communism. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:05PM (#13777965) Journal
      I spent my childhood on the eastern block, in a country to remain nameless (near the black sea , that should narrow it down) and every child's parent was responsible for their own... and you know what? VERY FEW if ANY of the kids I knew, and I grew up in the equivalent of "the hood" and ran the equivalent of a "gang" (small one at that, about 8 or 10 members) and played in soccer clubs and came home late at night...

      Difference being, my father taught me to fight, my mother to avoid problems such as getting in cars with strangers... thus, when I left my home, dad knew other kids would come to complain that I beat the fuck out of them (yep, and I was the little guy) and mom knew that he wouldn't "rightfully punish me" (he'd ask, "why, so he can learn that defending himself is wrong?")

      Sadly in the fine USA, justice is a forgotten term, and "consequences" are only monetary... many a time a good punch in the face would teach far more than a lawsuit. Many people who are OH so biblical forgot the old adage about sparing the rod.... Parents are sparing EVERYTHING from their kids, starting with the proverbial rod and ending with the very real absence of involvement of any kind.

      Fuck the system, when I decide to have kids, they will be raised right... it worked for me, worked for my brother, worked for my father who weathered several wars in the military and only ended up getting hurt being run over by a drunk driver (yeah, go fucking figure, eh?) It also worked for several dozen of my former friends from childhood, all of whom grew up, grew up well, and are extremely self reliant... not something very common in the USA where everyone expects to get approval from the system before moving on. Fuck it all. Live life like its yours, because it is. Too many want to have it lived for them... and Bush, Cheney, Gates, the supreme court and company will be glad to do it for you, since you pay them every time they make a decision for you.

      I say, fuckem all... I'll live my life the way I want to, I will abide by the honor code **I** impose upon myself, and when someone trespasses against me, without it being a mistake... well, I defend myself and I don't need a gun to break their arm in three different places if that is what it comes down to :)

      ~D
    • in your mind (Score:3, Insightful)

      is it ok for a 9 year old to go to bang bus or ass diver?

      you could tell me it's important that we be sex positive for children, that prudish attitudes about sex creates psychological problems

      i hear you, loud and clear

      but then tell me with a straight face it's perfectly reasonable that there be no safeguards preventing 8 year old missy from going on over to that scat site

      am i talking about stealing peoples rights under a false guise? am i?

      are you a paranoid schizophrenic?

      or, just possibly, no way! gosh! gasp
      • Re:in your mind (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dafoomie (521507)
        If you're letting a 9 year old use the internet unsupervised, then you're not doing your job as a parent. The internet is not a babysitter. There are plenty of safeguards that you can install on your computer, to prevent your child from accessing inappropriate material. It is not the job of the government to prevent your child from watching pornography on the computer, or violence on TV, or reading dirty magazines, its yours, and yours alone.

        Use filtering software on your computer, use the V-chip on your
  • Finally... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:43PM (#13777799)
    For once, a potential threat to children is solved by kicking the kids out of the room, instead of limiting adult speech.

    Verification issues aside, I think it's high time we adopted the "but your kids don't belong here" approach to more shit, and not just the fucking internet.
    • Re:Finally... (Score:3, Insightful)

      "For once, a potential threat to children"...

      It is a parental responsibility to have the talk about the bad men, etc.

      ..."is solved"...

      They can't verify someone's age.

      ..."by kicking the kids out of the room instead of limiting adult speech."

      Neither is desirable, imo. The best is always to educate, so that children learn about these dangers, not to ban them from those places totally or to fall into the other extreme, to ban adults from saying things which might be deemed inappropriate for childr
  • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuationNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:43PM (#13777802)
    The first link to aunty-spam.com is very misleading. The link to the AG's site is the proverbial "horse's mouth." Here is what really happened: Mr. Spitzer & Yahoo have reached an agreement where Yahoo will close down all chatrooms that promote sexual relations between minors and adults. So in other words, if there was a chat room called "pre-teen hook-ups with older men 50+" or whatever, Yahoo will shut it down.

    Again, minors are still allowed on Yahoo. However, Yahoo is clamping down on certain chatrooms that do not have honorable intentions.
    • by alan_dershowitz (586542) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:04PM (#13777956)
      According to this Reuters link [reuters.co.uk]:

      "Because of this agreement, Yahoo chat rooms are a safer place today," said Jon Bruning, Nebraska's attorney general, in a statement.

      Yahoo agreed to develop education materials promoting the safe use of chat rooms, restrict Yahoo Chat to users 18 and older and remove the Teen category.

      If they got it wrong, then Reuters got it wrong too.
    • by xigxag (167441) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:10PM (#13778000)
      See here: http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/chat/chat-15.html [yahoo.com]

      "Why did Yahoo! remove the ability for users under 18 to access Yahoo! Chat and remove the "Teen" category in Yahoo! Chat? We are removing the Teen category and making Yahoo! Chat available to users 18 or older in order to improve the user experience and compliance with our Terms of Service."

      My reading of this is that Yahoo! accounts set up by minors will not (at this time) be able to access Yahoo! Chat at all. Keep in mind that Yahoo! has a great many more properties than their Chat so minors will still have access to other areas. However, a minor can still use their parent's account (which seems to be allowed according to the rules [yahoo.com]) or conceivably lie about their age (which would certainly constitute a breach of contract). Either might absolve Yahoo! of liability, which is certainly all they're concerned about.

  • Some questions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kebes (861706) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:47PM (#13777836) Journal
    1. How are they going to verify age? If the age-verification is simple, kids will defeat it. If it is complicated, adults will find it inconvenient... in which case people will stop using Yahoo's chat services. There are many other chat networks.

    2. Why does New York law affect users all over the world?

    3. Who cares? As I said, there are many other chat networks. Kids will simply use another chat program or another network. What does this change, really? (Unless Yahoo believes their chat network is much more vile and filled with adult things than any other network?)

    4. Why? I mean, how does preventing kids from going to chat rooms protect them? Sure, they won't be fooled by some pervert in a chat room who tricks them... but they can still be fooled/affected by emails, web pages, and lots of things online. (Besides which, web-based chat-rooms exist...) It's been said on slashdot many times before, but it should be more about parents monitoring their children, and teaching them proper surfing habits, rather than trying to lock down and sanitize the net (which is an impossible task anyway).

    5. Why 18? It's great that Yahoo is taking measures to protect children... removing a "bad" chatrooms promptly seems fair enough. However I don't understand why they are cutting off at 18... Protecting very young children (who again should be monitored by their parents to a certain extent) is great, but I think a 15 year old can handle him/herself in a chat-room. There is no reason to prevent them from having an online place to discuss. I don't think you need the same level of adult responsibility to chat online as you need for voting, drinking alcohol, driving a car, etc... yet they are placing the threshold at the same level!
  • How? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@beaHORSEu.org minus herbivore> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:48PM (#13777841)
    And just how to they intend to enforce this decree? Open up local offices around the nation where they will check a photo ID before issuing a userID and password? Nah, this is just a PR stunt.
  • by efuseekay (138418) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:50PM (#13777860)

    (a) Eliot Spitze : Heh Heh Heh. Man, I look like a hero, even though I don't give a damn to those kids who parents should know better.

    (b) New York State Parents : Rah rah rah! Our children are safe from sexual predators!

    (c) Yahoo! : Heh Heh Heh. As though as we can even try to stop childen from U18 from getting in.

    (d) Under 18 Kids: Doh, everyone know you have to pretend to be over 18 to hit on anybody anyway.

    (e) Over 18 Perverts : Doh, now I have to *really* try to believe those U18 kids online are simply pretending to be Over 18.

    (f) Everyone else : Groan.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:53PM (#13777884)
    I've been in the Yahoo chat rooms. I needed protection from those that were claiming to be under 18, not the other way around.
  • I don't see how (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alan_dershowitz (586542) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:57PM (#13777923)
    I don't see how this protects our children, insofar as that any child can still use ANY OTHER CHAT ROOM ON THE ENTIRE FREAKING INTERNET. Maybe we should start making parks or other arbitrary public places 18-only to prevent child molesters. Do kids not have rights? Yahoo can run their chat rooms however they want, but by what rationale does a lawmaker determine where and where not a child can go in a completely open public place (online or real)? How does a lawmaker determine that kids can't use chat rooms? They didn't go that far, because as they said, they "reached an agreement." Which is roughly analogous to a policeman telling you they won't arrest you for loitering if you walk away now.
    • Re:I don't see how (Score:3, Insightful)

      by autarkeia (152712)

      Maybe we should start making parks or other arbitrary public places 18-only to prevent child molesters.

      We already have. This woman [go.com] was fined $1000 and faces up to 90 days in jail for sitting on a park bench where there was a small sign that said she must be accompanied by a child.

      Absurd.

      Right now in California if you are caught streaking you are marked as a sex offender for life. This Puritanical hysteria over kids and sex is absolutely ridiculous. Kids do not need to be protected from every goddamne

  • by Allnighterking (74212) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:05PM (#13777963) Homepage
    I'm sorry but this is like using the new "Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Feature" If it's broken disable it! What's next, do we box up our kids, feed them through a slot and not let them out until they are 18? IMHO The Neo-Con(artist) mentality of "You have nothing but fear" (VS You have nothing to fear but fear itself) has reached a new low with this one.

    I apologize for being a bit too political here but I'm growing increasingly tired of this Liberal psuedo Religious Republican fear mongering that has gripped America. These preditors exist because they know the following.

    1. Mommy and Daddy are too busy going to Politcal Fund Raisors, Drinking beer on the back porch or attending bible thump sessions to attend to their children.

    2. The state has told the parents over and over. Shut up we are better at children than you are. Screw, give birth and turn them over to us, and the state hasn't a clue how to protect them.

    3. If parents do get involved in monitoring their children and caring for them and the state finds out. BIG trouble. (You slapped your childs hand and made it cry!..... Child abuse charges will follow.)

    4. The more laws and "protections" the state envokes the easier it becomes to get around the sytem.

    5. If you have enough money and donate wisely, you can do as you will.

    Now this carp. Wow. Now we are fully admitting to our children that we as adults aren't capable of doing anything to protect them or guide them. No wonder so few of them trust us. On this thought I'll remind so many of you what happened in Romania. The goverment forced it's people to give up child care to the state. Now, most of those children are HIV positive and or dead. Get on the Clue train America, We won't protect our children by hiding the world from them, The only way to protect them is to show them the full extent of the danger then give them the tools and the knowledge on how to deal with it.

    My 3 year old a while back was approached by a gentlemen as I watched. The gentlemen (an arthritic grandfather type, I sensed no danger but watched) started to speak to him and he said "Do I know you?" The gentlemen replied "No" and my son said. "Then I can't talk to you till you talk to my daddy first." (btw he got a big hug and a small candy for his actions) The words where his, but the idea of not talking to strangers unless mommy or daddy ok it was a tool I gave him to deal with the world.

    People, Tell the government to go abuse itself. You are not dumb and incompitent like they keep telling you, that you are. You are capable of making decisions and dealing with your children. Despite the fact that you voted for these parisites on the teats of the political whore.
    • by hritcu (871613) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @03:56AM (#13779982) Homepage
      On this thought I'll remind so many of you what happened in Romania. The goverment forced it's people to give up child care to the state. Now, most of those children are HIV positive and or dead.

      Sorry, but you have your fact very very wrong. First, most of the "institutionalized" children are 18+ years now, and there is little anybody can do to help them without their consent. Faith was very unfair with them and very few of them managed to get a normal life. However seems that the leaders have learned from their previous mistakes, and abandoned children are now either addopted or given to families for care, together with a monthly sum of money.

      However this has nothing to do with yet another problem: that of children with AIDS or HIV positive. They usually have families that are caring for them (until their situation becomes very bad, at least). Their problem is usualy caused by the prejudice of the other people. It is hard for them to study in public schools because the parents of the other children will react.

      There is almost no relation between the two problems, and I don't see how this could be given as an example of a goverment that forced it's people to give up child care to the state. Maybe you could explain more. (Yes, I was born in Romania)
  • by stuttering stan (889500) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:16PM (#13778038)

    Here's an earlier report about Yahoo and MSN merges IMs [slashdot.org]
    And here's a story about a nobody talking smack [slashdot.org] about Linux IM clients.

    Both topics are chock full of MSN IM astro-turfing goodness. Check it out. Looks like the start of a marketing campaign for MSN Messenger 7.

  • aw crap.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lehk228 (705449) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:32PM (#13778141) Journal
    aw crap, now they are all going to flood in to IRC asking "ASL? ASL? ASL?"
  • by acvh (120205) <geek.mscigars@com> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:37PM (#13778166) Homepage
    Recently the head of the local police force's "cybercrime" task force spoke to parents at my son's high school. He shared with us some transcripts of older guys hitting on young girls, and it was very illuminating. The first thing to be aware of is that these "perverts" out there are very good at seduction - not necessarily sexual - and are very convincing at sounding like teenage boys. In addition, he went through a demonstration of how, armed with nothing but the girl's first name and a hobby, he was able to get her full name (google name and cheerleading squad), her address, her father's profession, a picture of her house, and a picture of her. So, a girl chatting with a guy, who can say he's in her hometown, knows her father's dentist office and goes to the same football games, decides to meet this boy down the street at the strip mall. Scary stuff.

    Chatting is a way of life for kids these days. That may not be good, personally we restrict our son's activities in this regard, but many parents just see it as an alternative to hanging out at the mall. Surely a kid is safer at home, right?

    Blaming parents, especially when you aren't one, for not being aware of all this, is an easy out, but not a productive one. The providers of chat rooms DO share a responsibility for safety. Yes, age restrictions can be bypassed, but it will help. Not all kids are liars. And, for good or ill, Spitzer is very good at increasing awareness of wrongdoing, in many areas. That increased awareness will also help.

    It's sad to see those who profess to be freedom loving libertarians here get upset over chat room restrictions, and in the same paragraph advocate sterilization or "parent ability tests".
    • It IS the parents' fault. They live in your house. You buy the computers and the internet connection. If you can't be bothered to watch your own children why should anyone else?

      The government is already big enough. Let the parents do the parenting. Can't hack it? Don't bear children.
  • by Talaria (874527) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:42PM (#13778202)
    "Yahoo is taking further steps to enhance user safety by restricting Yahoo Chat to users 18 and older and removing the Teen category," said a Yahoo spokesperson.

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