I’m surprised that Microsoft announced they are to close their MSN chat rooms from October 14th. I can only see this as a publicity and cost reduction exercise. The BBC website features some reactions from net users and also a poll which currently shows 55% against closing chat rooms.
Microsoft are pandering to the growing hype around internet safety and the parents who want the pc to be a ‘virtual nanny’ for the child while they have a bit of peace and quiet. They are also letting the corrupt few win over the vast majority of honest net users who are more and more being tarnished. If your an adult and use the net then you must be one of those dodgy chat room users.
Parental responsibility has to be encouraged to try and combat child safety on the net and they must do more to understand the potential dangers and what can be done to combat them. They should also reduce the amount of time their kids spend on the net – there are far healthier and more sociable activities for kids. Stiffer penalties for paedophiles are also required. And hopefully common sense will rule and most other chat rooms stay open before they are driven underground where control really will be lost.