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Yahoo Closes Chat Rooms to Anyone Under 18 680

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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  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • This is retarded. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by w1z7ard ( 227376 ) <carmelo.piccione ... O.com minus city> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:42PM (#13777793) Homepage
    Talking online is not like drinking alcohol, having sex, looking at porn, driving, etc. It's just a textual form of communication- a freedom of speech that utilizes technology. This seems to me like yahoo is just trying to cover their ass and avoid further obnoxious law suits that they shoudn't be responsible for. Frankly children still have a variety of other online chat choices so this act of "vigilance" would hardly put a dent in the "minors talking online" industry (not to mention VOIP and webcams- christ!).
  • Re:Yeah right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ErisCalmsme ( 212887 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:43PM (#13777795) Homepage Journal
    yeah... no kid is smart enough to lie about their birthday when they sign up for a yahoo account...
  • 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.
  • by stfvon007 ( 632997 ) <enigmar007 AT yahoo DOT 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.
  • 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!
  • by ThePuceGuardian ( 898399 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:48PM (#13777840)
    www.spitzer2006.com Of course he's just a slimebag opportunist trying to pull voters around by the 'protect the children' leash - but given that 99% of 'people' in Yahoo's chat rooms are ad-spamming robots it's hard to work up that much outrage..
  • 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 tyllwin ( 513130 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:51PM (#13777866)
    Because God knows that "younger girl running away from her parent's house with some older guy" was UTTERLY UNHEARD OF in all of human history before the Internet arrived.
  • by X-rated Ouroboros ( 526150 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:52PM (#13777875) Homepage

    Funny, when I heard that story about that one chick from MySpace my reaction was that the only reason this story was semi-national news was because it had a "The Internet" angle. Older weirdos killing teenage girls isn't something new that requires the interent.

    And as long as we're on the MySpace chick... she'd apparently met the guy several times in meatspace. It wasn't: "Hi! It's nice to meet you for the FIRST TIME! What are you going to do with those trash bags and rope? TEE HEE!" She had a chance to figure out that this guy wasn't quite right... the internet is no more at fault than any other place where people can get to know other people.

  • Re:I wonder (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:54PM (#13777889)
    Yeah, except they didn't have the Internet or the proliferation of cell phones when you were growing up, chief! The advances in communication have sadly made it easier and easier for predators to engage in criminal activity. On the one hand, I dislike that "it's the government's responsibility" but after shows like "My Super Sweet 16" or whatever it's called on MTV and the amount of kids playing M-rated video games, you have to ask how the hell did it get so bad? Look at the average parents these days--kids can get away with anything, even in strict households. Virtually no one raises their kids strictly anymore and the "me first" generation is upon us. May God have mercy on our souls...

  • 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.
  • 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 ;^)
  • 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 wonder (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:58PM (#13777928)
    Were you awake for Tipper Gore? Didn't you notice that one day you could buy an album and see the whole cover and the next day the cover was partially obscured by a "Warning:Explicit Lyrics" label that was a short-term marketing boon and was also promptly ignored by sales clerks?

    And even before our time there's the Comics Code. Many other examples exist; this is a familiar theme in American History.
  • Re:I wonder (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @07:59PM (#13777930)
    Does Spitzer really think this would work? I used to think he was out to clean up corruption, but now it looks like he's pursuing window dressing. Window dressing is bad, like airport and subway security, it doesn't accomplish anything but it makes it look like government is doing something. It's really a bad allocation of resources, why isn't there a general outcry against this sort of thing the way people rail against corruption and crony capitalism?

    If we really cared about children, we'd structure our society to be more oriented around raising children, by letting women have long maternity leave without damage to their professional lives, by educating children instead of placating teachers' unions and using schools as babysitters so parents can work, and protecting their physical health and safety both from pollution and from violence created by economic stratification and organized crime.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 :)

  • Ban it all (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Barkley44 ( 919010 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:11PM (#13778003) Homepage
    We should ban everything from kids under 18 to protect them. Keep them in a protected shell until we release them to the world when they reach 18. Come on... there are so many ways around this in particular. Why can't parents take responsibility for where their kids go and what they say. If you don't trust them, then keep the computer in the same room as the TV for example.
  • Re:There goes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hal9000(jr) ( 316943 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:11PM (#13778005)
    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 sometimes even with the best or parents. Now, closing chat rooms to minors is not THE answer, but it does help. Just like play dates don't help kids stay safe, but it helps.
  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:19PM (#13778053)
    The goal of a parent is not to navigate their kids through life, but to give them a map about life.
  • in your mind (Score:3, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquareNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:20PM (#13778063) Homepage Journal
    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! there are actually level-headed reasonable parents who want to let their kids on the web without getting them caught up on double penetration action...

    no way! inconceivable! could that REALLY be the impulse behind these safeguards! unpossible! it HAS to be a plot by rick santorum and gw bush to take away ALL of our rights! yes! that's the more reasonable explanation ;-P

    you have to make sure your concerns in this world don't fail the laugh test, dig?

    hyperhysterical dreams of orwellian big brother locking you in a prison cell so agent smith and lord palpatine can laugh heartily is not a more reasonable understanding of the situation than just a bunch of concerned overworked parents who want their kids to use one of the greatest educational tools ever invented without exposing them to hardcore porn

  • 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:I wonder (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:27PM (#13778105) Homepage Journal
    The advances in communication have sadly made it easier and easier for predators to engage in criminal activity.

    Please provide evidence that this is so. I don't mean nattering about MTV and video games; I mean actual hard evidence that children are more likely now to be molested, abducted, abused, etc. than in the pre-cell-phone, pre-internet era.

    I doubt you can. And I doubt anyone else can either.
  • Re:Finally... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:35PM (#13778157)
    "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 children.
  • by irc.goatse.cx troll ( 593289 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:37PM (#13778169) Journal
    First and most important: Who mandates it? Nobody has authority over the interwebbernet.
    That said, what defines adult content?
        What about a national geographic-style site that would include topless women from some tribe in africa?
        What about a site selling underwear? For example, you can see bush on this amazon ad: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000 7XLONC/ref=pd_sbs_a_4/102-1256598-6028138?_encodin g=UTF8&v=glance [amazon.com]
        What about webcam sites where people are free to be as nude or not-nude as they like?
        What about informative sites teaching kids about their own body? (clitical, jackinworld, etc)
        What about non comercial personal pages that include nudes (Be they self nudes, or "my wild vacation pictures", or whatever).

    The gray area is huge. But again, more importantly, who can mandate such a requirement? Why would someone want to host their site in a banned by many .xxx tld when they can get more profit from a .com? Because of potential us law you propose? Only people that care about silly US laws are silly US citizens.

    The better proposal is a .kids tld (or better yet, an entire arin assignment or VPN you could limit your kids inside), which anybody could set up and be responsible for. If you could get a few big isps behind it, you'd have a large enough base that the big names (Disney, Nick, etc) would want access to host their sites inside your system, and the only stuff inside would be safe.

    Even if you could block a .xxx, you'll never block the millions of nude pictures already out there lurking in peoples personal sites, forgotten dir indexes, and whatever else.
  • Oh brother (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:38PM (#13778173)
    "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,"

    And where, pray tell, does this happen?

    I mean, aside from some fiction you've read somewhere? I am considerably older than you and I can say for certain such a situation has never existed.
  • by grogdamighty ( 884570 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:38PM (#13778174) Homepage
    Why do you think children would stay in parent-moderated chatrooms rather than going to hang out in the "cool" adult chatrooms?

    Unless you meant to say that parents should take an active part in their children's day-to-day activities, which I completely agree with.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:47PM (#13778241)
    Considering the number of people who molest their kids or have child molestors in their family

    Note that this actually accounts for the majority of child molestors last I heard. Meaning, of course, that the parents are two of the most dangerous people in a child's life, and that's not even counting the absolutely limitless access they have to a child to fuck it up in other ways.

    Maybe if parents would actually do a good job raising kids they could trust, and who trusted them, they'd not need all these useless half-measures. It's important as parents to be vigilant, but ultimately you can't watch them 24/7, even if the law helps you think you can.

  • Re:in your mind (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dafoomie ( 521507 ) <dafoomie AT hotmail DOT com> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:49PM (#13778253) Homepage
    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 TV, and put your parenting skills to work, and actually monitor what your children are doing, don't ask the government to do your job for you.
  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @08:50PM (#13778257) Journal
    You've pretty much hit the nail right on the head. The police agencies have created, with the media's help, an enormous amount of hysteria out of this. Yes, there's no doubt there's some real SOBs hanging out on chatrooms, some real sick guys. But, so far as I understand it, the vast majority of molestations come from close friends and family members.
  • by X-rated Ouroboros ( 526150 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @09:02PM (#13778311) Homepage

    I mean, sane, normal people who are not socially messed up or repulsive meet their love interests while out at a concert or a club or while doing things with their friends. [...] Why would you bother trying to hook up with a total roll of the dice on the net unless you were a total failure at it in person?

    I'd say it's pathetic to hook-up with a "total roll of the dice" whether you meet them online or at club while doing stuff with your friends.

    And I don't know about you, but there's a fair bit of overlap between the people I'm friends with in real life and the people I'm friends with online. So, what if one of my real-life friends wants to go to a club to meet a mutual internet-friend... and I end up hitting it off with the internet-friend? What if it was a real-life friend-of-a-friend who was only an internet-friend to me? What if it was someone I knew in real life but never had anything romantic develop until I got their contact information and talked to them online? What if it's someone I intially knew only online, but then was introduced to them by a mutual friend in real life, and then had something romantic develop online... and then met them in real life on my own for a hook-up?

  • 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 RedWizzard ( 192002 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @09:26PM (#13778433)
    Unless you meant to say that parents should take an active part in their children's day-to-day activities, which I completely agree with.
    Are you suggesting that parents should sit with their kids for every minute of computer use? Because I don't see any other level of involvement that is going to be effective.
  • by robertgeller ( 882730 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @09:32PM (#13778457)
    Sometimes we "kids" are right, despite your superiority complexes. Get over it -- sir.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @10:00PM (#13778597)
    Only if they're opposite sex adults. This *is* the U.S., after all. Gotta have *some* standards.
  • by nolife ( 233813 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @10:17PM (#13778685) Homepage Journal
    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 son to enable advanced online fucntions like friends lists and joining of clans in Socom3. Socom 1 & 2 did not have such a restriction. It is no cost but they still wanted a card number. Xbox live is the same. Even with the prepaid cards you buy in the store for an annual Xbox online subscription requires a valid CC to complete the signup.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @10:20PM (#13778699)
    I'm sure Hitler would agree.
  • by Jesus IS the Devil ( 317662 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @10:27PM (#13778725)
    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.
  • Yes! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @10:42PM (#13778779) Homepage Journal
    My regime would do that! Also bring back impaling, dueling code (hand to hand weapons only) and ban all current organized religion in favor of the mandatory state sponsored one, which would involve Smurfs. We'd also require samurai honor code for public officials and corporate upper management. Mismanage a natural disaster or steal the pensions of tens of thousands of people and my regime would allow you to honorably disembowl yourself or be impaled.

    I'll be quite liberal with the cabinet positions for early supporters, if you know what I mean...

  • 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.
  • Re:I don't see how (Score:3, Insightful)

    by autarkeia ( 152712 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @11:17PM (#13778944) Homepage
    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.


    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 goddamned thing in the world, they need to be informed about everything and taught to make sensible decisions. As in all things, the truth will set you free.

  • by GreyyGuy ( 91753 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @11:29PM (#13779006)
    Actually, this is a great idea. If they are sharp enough to set up their own Jabber or IRC server, then they are probably safe in chatting and aren't going to fall for a predator.

    Yeah- 'cause technical skills and understanding are directly related to social skills and understanding.
  • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @11:34PM (#13779028) Journal
    So instead of having a situation where perverts try to pick up kids, get caught and go to jail, we're going to have a situation where kids lie about their age logging on, and then when perverts get caught trying to pick them up, the perverts can say they believed the person they were chatting with was over 18 and it was all make-believe.

  • Baby. Bathwater. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Caspian ( 99221 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @11:42PM (#13779065)
    You draw your own goddamned conclusions.

    I'm outraged at this. Although I've never been much for 'chat rooms' (being a geek and all, I hung out on MU*s for social purposes, whereas a non-geek would use chat rooms or, now, IM), I was very active on Internet-based social systems before the age of 18.

    Depriving young people of that just because of the miniscule risk of pedophiles is fucking ridiculous.

    People are blowing this "ZOMG INTARNAT PEDOPHILES ARE GOING 2 JUMP UOT OF UR SCREEN AND EAT U!!1111" shit way out of proportion. It's fucking ridiculous. They've even spawned vigilante groups [perverted-justice.com] to track down Internet pedophiles. One of their recent "catches" claimed to be 19 himself [perverted-justice.com] (and by the photo, he might be so), and was caught trying to seduce a PJ mole masquerading as a 13-year-old girl. The site's visitors seem to think that this guy is the slimiest thing since slimed bread, without once considering the simple facts that:

    1) The alleged perp was all of 6 (count 'em) years older than his imagined 13-year-old 'dream girl'. He was a teen himself, for Chrissakes. If 13 + 19 ranks (as of 11:25 PM on October 12, 2005) a 4.68 on a 1-5 scale of 'sliminess', then I must ask this: At what point does it go from 'slimy' to 'okay'? How 'slimy' is a 14-year-old with a 20-year-old? How about a 15-year-old with a 21-year-old? 16 with 22? 17 with 23? 18 with 24? At what point does it go from 'slimy' to 'okay'? Many people are married to people with far, far greater age differences than this guy.
    2) Sorry to be blunt, but there are far, far better things to waste one's time on than Internet "pedophiles" going after HORNY TEENAGERS for CONSENSUAL SEX. I've heard the "BUT U CANT GIVE TEH INFORMED CONSENT UNTIL UR 18 LOL!1!1!!111' rubbish a billion times, and I'm not buying it. When I was 13, I was assembling computers and programming; I was certainly capable of comprehending what sex was, and I wanted it very, very badly. As does, of course, nearly every other 13-year-old in existence. Even their mole, playing the part of a 13-year-old girl, responded to an offer of sex with a tease:

    wa55up (4:17:02 PM): are u a virgin
    nickcater_ismahman (4:17:14 PM): yah
    wa55up (4:17:46 PM): are u lookin to change that
    nickcater_ismahman (4:18:02 PM): lol maybe

    Jesus fucking Christ, this "OMG PEDOPHILES!!11!11!!!11" shit is ridiculous. The other species of the planet got it right in this regard: They mate the instant they get old enough to have a libido, which means puberty. Now, coercing (not seducing, coercing) or, of course, raping underaged kids is a whole different ball of wax, but for fuck's sake, humanity is the only species that cruelly denies some of its horniest members the ability to mate. Some would say that it's because young people would make unwise decisions about sex, but in reality, it's just because of a medieval notion of "morality" that the churches and mosques (and, to a lesser degree, synagogues) of the world have managed to carry with them all the way into this twenty-first century... (This is very similar to people who claim that they oppose homosexuality because it's "dangerous", but in reality, they simply find it "immoral").

    God. I'm fucking disgusted at this. This anti-"pedophile" shit is almost as ridiculous and loathsome as the actual, find-a-6-year-old-girl-and-rape-her pedophiles themselves.

    I'd say lock the loony anti-pedophile crusaders and the actual rape-a-child pedophiles in a room together somewhere. They deserve each others' company.
  • by DariaM84 ( 705388 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @11:59PM (#13779127) Homepage Journal
    Amen to that. Yahoo! was my first introduction into chatrooms. I wonder if anyone under 18 will still be able to start IM chats when MSN and Yahoo! join forces? That would be stupid to block. -_-
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:13AM (#13779221)
    You're confusing policing with parenting. That's the problem.
  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @01:59AM (#13779629) Journal
    The point is that this is like the "SHARK ATTACK" nonsense that went five or six years ago. A few people got attacked by sharks, and the media made it seem like putting your toes in the water was to invite some collosal set of teeth to leap out of the water and gnaw on you.

    I'm not arguing that the Internet doesn't have its predators, nor am I saying that children shouldn't be protected. But this solution is rather like locking them up until they're 21. And it is based upon hysteria, just like the belief that every airplane holds a couple of hijackers with a couple of butter knives and suicidal urges.

    I mean, if we're going to go down that road, perhaps we shouldn't let kids go to the mall without armed escorts.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:13AM (#13779674)
    "One's appraisal of history is a series of value judgments of a series of value judgements."

    As opposed to the majority of your rebuttals which are value judgements troll? BTW, can you do HTML? Since the majority of argument was value judgements and the outlining of your argument was atrocious allow me to rip but one of your rebuttals apart:

    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.

    Ever read any Evolutionary Psychology? Humans are a social species whose networks are built on status and reputation. A loss of status could mean more attacks on ones on physical being and reputation itself. So yes, at one stage in the past, loss of status was considered a pretty important thing in the mind of humans.

    And now that I've proved you wrong how does it justify you smashing the parent or anyone else's face in with a brick? The only way it would be justified in your twisted reality is if you were perceived as having lost status. Which would mean you are an insecure little man if you take such things to heart.

  • by grammar fascist ( 239789 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:28AM (#13779732) Homepage
    Ro V Wade doesn't need to be overturned it needs to be expanded to include unfit parents. Impossible to pass though since most of Congress would face retro active abortion. Given some of the people successfully breeding one has to question whether Darwin was right.

    Oh, I know! Let's play Eugenics! It's a wonderful game - you invent a reality in which people like you are the best, and condemn every other group to dwindle to nothing based on your invented criteria of fitness.

    Freaking Nazi. Musings like yours fleshed out into action plans have caused some of the worst atrocities in history. It disturbs me to see so much of this on Slashdot. Is it just teen angst, or something more sinister?

    (By the way, I didn't lose because I brought up Hitler. Godwin won [wikipedia.org] because you forced his hand.)
  • by Kuros_overkill ( 879102 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:48AM (#13779805)
    WARNING: Some facts have been simplifide for the sake of quicker argument. Do Not Flame.

    I don't recall anyone saying Dalmar wasn't intellegent. He was Evil. Evil != Stupid. Good != Smart. They are two seperate measurments. One is of intelegence. The other of Moral and Ethical Values (not legal, Laws have nothing to do with Morals or Ethics). Einstien == Good, Dalmar == Evil. Nothing is this math negates Dalmar == Intellegent. P.S. Yes I'm aware that Insane != Evil. My opinion is my own.
  • by Mistshadow2k4 ( 748958 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:57AM (#13779838) 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. 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.

    Only kids need this lesson?

  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @03:21AM (#13779901)

    It's the idiots that keep breeding and leeching off Society without regard to the damage they are doing. The rest of us are smarter than them. Since we are the one's creating the cut-off line, we'll sure as heck make sure of two things:

    1. We are above it
    2. The idiot masses are below it.

    Incorrect. It's the idiot masses that keep the wheels of society turning. They're the ones doing all the work that puts food on your table. The soeciety would collapse without them. On the other hand, people who think themselves very smart (such as yourself) and everyone else beneath them, usually contribute nothing but occasional genocide, mass-sterilization program or other form of evil and injustice with no purpose other than glorifying themselves in their own eyes.

    And a smart person would know how to use the HTML ordered list (<ol> <li>list item one</li> <li>list item two</li> </ol>) instead of having to simulate one with line breaks. To the junk gene pool with you !

  • by Walkiry ( 698192 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @04:01AM (#13779994) Homepage
    >And a smart person would know how to use the HTML ordered list

    Not necessarily, you're making the common mistake of confusing knowledge with intelligence. It's probably not your fault, just a sad reflection of the education system nowadays, where mindless accumulation of knowledge is the yard stick for measuring progress.
  • Re:OK, I'll bite (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eivind ( 15695 ) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @04:13AM (#13780022) Homepage
    When is someone an adult? In my opinion, you need to draw a line somewhere, and the age of 18 seems appropriate to me.

    It's not "one" line, but a lot of lines. A person isn't either "fully adult" or "100% child", in the real world people develop gradually over years and are given more and more responsibility both by law and by their parents (assuming the parents aren't idiots)

    For example, in Norway (other countries have different age-limits, but the general principle is the same) there's quite a few different age-limits, some of which are:

    • A person over 12s wish should be (by the court) given significant weigth when it comes to deciding where to live after a divorce.
    • A person over 15 can hold own jobs, and are free to themselves spend cash they earn.
    • A person over 15 can by themselves join or leave any legal club, organisation or religion.
    • A person over 15 can also select which school they'll attend.
    • A person over 16 can consent to sex.
    • The doctor can no longer inform your parents when you'er over 16. You're free to, on your own, refuse medical treatment, or ask for it.
    • A person over 18 can buy tobacco, beer and wine.
    • A person over 18 can enter any legal contract, and vote at elections.
    • A person over 20 can buy hard liquor, and be prime-minister.

    OK, so 18 may be the most significant of these dates, but it's not an "on/off" switch, nor should it be.

  • by Eivind ( 15695 ) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @04:30AM (#13780055) Homepage
    Are you suggesting that parents should sit with their kids for every minute of computer use? Because I don't see any other level of involvement that is going to be effective.

    Don't be silly. I know everyone goes gaga and turns their brain off when someone mentions children and "online-predators" but this does not change the facts that:

    • Atleast 95% of the abused children are abused by someone they know well, the "don't talk to strangers" thing doesn't really make much sense.

    • Even just talking openly with your children so they know they can talk to you if something bothers them or they have questions is a great help.

    • Fears are not equal to risk. In actual fact your child is something like 1000 times more likely being killed by a car-accident as being in any way abused by a "stranger on the internet"
    • That said, there *are* simple rules that children should follow. Bring an adult along the first time you meet someone from the Internet is one of those rules.
    • Seeing a naked breast is not going to harm anyone not already terminally harmed by religios bullshit. Most children see their first naked breast at age 2 minutes, here in Europe most of them continue seeing naked breasts regularily trough their entire lives I don't know what's so damaging about it.
    • How come "adult material" in US-speak seem to mean "anything remotely related to sex", while chainsaw-massacre III is seemingly a non-issue? (witness the .xxx TLD bruhaha)

    By the way, I say this as the father of a small child, so don't think for even a microsecond that I don't care about the wellbeing of children. I just don't care for wrongheded paranoia, that's all. There's no reason you need to sit with your child at the computer the entire time. You should however, in my opinion have an idea what the child is doing and sometimes discuss it with the child.

  • by Jim_Callahan ( 831353 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @05:23AM (#13780167)
    Yeah, I have issues with the argument as well... it's too long. He should have just said "violence being an effective solution to a problem is unrelated to wether you like violence or not." Maybe followed it up with an example, like "I don't have enough land. I kill some guy and take his land. Like it or not, moral or not, the problem is solved."

    Since the grandparent didn't say it, I will: violence quite definitely solves things. Wether violence itself is a good thing is an arbitrary value assessment on the part of the viewer. But since 'solve' is a quite empirically verifiable term in most cases, and there are cases where violence has resolved problems, the cliche "violence never solves anything" is, by the rules of logic, patently false.

    I would also argue that violence is good in many cases, but as this of course comes down to a set of arbitrary value assessments on my part, and is a completely separate issue, I won't bore you with the details.

    Ok, made the post the requisite 3 times in [indirect], [direct], and [flippant] modes, signing off now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:36AM (#13780344)
    Reminds me of this quote from the book Affluenza by Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss.

    The Olsen sisters, who visited Australia in 2003, became famous as cute 5-year old twins in a US sitcom before growing into pouting teenage entrepreneurs promoting sexy lingerie, including matching padded bras and panties to their 6- to 12-year old fans. If adults who are sexually attracted to children are called paedophiles, what do we call adults who set out to make chidren sexually attractive? Advertising executives.
  • by Chuq ( 8564 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @07:33AM (#13780440) Homepage Journal
    What an ironic sig.
  • what's the point? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ALpaca2500 ( 125123 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @08:32AM (#13780660) Homepage
    does anyone over 18 even use yahoo chatrooms?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 13, 2005 @08:41AM (#13780706)
    Your assumptions about the origins of violence are quite child-like and naive. To beleieve that apes harbor some "pure" nature that allows the only violence to occur in domination rituals is absurd. They will gladly fight to the death over limited resourses, just the way we do. "For King and for country" simply means that our group will get control of the resources and the ability to determine it's distribution.

    You would kill to feed your starving child, just like an ape, a lion, or nearly every animal of the skin of this fair planet. That has on a basic level been the struggle of humanity since the beginning.
  • So.... are you saying that, because the U.S. once pursued a campaign of forced sterilization, Americans aren't allowed to criticize the idea? Or was that just a big fucking red herring that had absolutely nothing to do with the parent's post?
  • by CoderBob ( 858156 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @10:09AM (#13781368)
    Or, perhaps, because he's just posting a message to /., he doesn't give a rat's ass about whether or not a search engine can recognize it, because it's just a quick little blurb and he's not designing a fucking website? Or perhaps this is one of the few places he posts to that actually supports direct HTML coding in the message, and he does it the other way out of habit so he doesn't try posting HTML somewhere else?

    Oh, and on the subject of "elitism": Pot, this is kettle. You're black.
  • by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:34PM (#13783541)
    Atleast 95% of the abused children are abused by someone they know well, the "don't talk to strangers" thing doesn't really make much sense.

    Probably higher than 95%.

    In an ethics class a few years ago, a female student was arguing for the presence of cameras in public. Her line of reasoning was "well, they help to keep me safe".

    I asked her to consider domestic violence (especially murder) statistics. I then asked her if she's like the police to monitor her bedroom every night. She didn't know quite what to say to that.

    Fact of the matter is, any parent using the "think of the children" argument is a complete and utter idiot. If we REALLY cared about children's well-being, they'd all be taken away from the parents at birth, and never allowed to see family members again. Pretty stupid knee-jerk idea, right?

    A news story earlier this year was talking about the number of child abductions in Canada. There are thousands, maybe tens of thousands. The number of children abducted by a stranger?


    Horrible, tragic, and I do agree this number should be zero. However, if we REALLY "think of the children", we'd do a lot more to work to reduce the thousands than the 5. Seems to me we don't.

  • by QMO ( 836285 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @03:35PM (#13784138) Homepage Journal
    "... the more capable people are most often the least likely to breed..."

    You qualify that phrase with the word "often," but your post still implies that you know what makes one person better (more worthy to reproduce/pass on values) than another.

    It is at least as possible that adults that choose not to get married and raise children are some of the LEAST capable to be good parents, because they're selfish.

    Before the flames come, it should be noted that:
      1. I presented the alternative to the assumptions implied in the parent as a different possibility, not as a fact.
      2. There are many reasons why people don't have children, and not all of them are character flaws.
      3. There are some people that are unfit to be parents that have lots of children.
      4. There are some people that have lots of children and are wonderful parents.

Man will never fly. Space travel is merely a dream. All aspirin is alike.