How Does Blocking A Phone Number Protect Children In Chat Rooms?

from the beats-me... dept

A British mother has apparently won the “top award” at “the world’s largest invention trade show” for her invention to help protect her daughter in online chat rooms. That sounds great, but it’s not at all clear how the device she describes does anything to protect children in chat rooms. Perhaps it’s the BBC reporting, but it appears the device can be used to prevent a phone from dialing a specific phone number. That’s it. What that has to do with stopping a child from using an internet chat room is beyond me. The one (fairly small) benefit I can come up with is the ability to keep a fairly unsophisticated child from dialing up while a parent isn’t around to watch them. After all, if the parents aren’t home already, can’t the kids just unplug the device? Besides once they got online they could just go to any chatroom they wanted. Besides, why use a device when you could just do it in software on the computer itself? Finally, with much of the world rushing rapidly towards broadband, this sort of device becomes even less useful. While the BBC article suggests the woman may make a “fortune” on the device, it’s not entirely clear why. It seems this is just another attempt to jump on the fears of parents about what their kids might be doing online, without being at all useful.

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Comments on “How Does Blocking A Phone Number Protect Children In Chat Rooms?”

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Billy (user link) says:

No Subject Given

Maybe instead of spending all the time involved to “set about learning the rudiments of telecom engineering and recruited a local electronics firm to build the prototype,” she could have spent that time sitting down with her kid and saying, “Listen. Don’t do this and this is why it’s bad …” What horrible parenting and what a ridiculous article.

dorpus says:

Re: Now, if they could invent RFID tracking for bo

I’m reading rumors on that the victim was the daughter of a newspaper bureau chief, a big-time liberal who was anti-war, anti-American, and interrupted class with her frequent political pronouncements. That earned the ire of many of her classmates, whose parents worked at a local US military base.

So don’t be surprised if foreign media starts saying that “America killed the girl”.

Russell (user link) says:

Call Barring

After a little perplexed thought, I took it to mean phone-based chat rooms to Premium Rate numbers.

Nothing to do with it’s cousin Web-based Chat Rooms, at all.

So it allows you to bar calls to specified numbers. But the problem seems to me – how do you know which numbers to ban without checking 1000’s out yourself? And if the daughter was disturbed by the one she called, isn’t that enough to stop her going back?

I once took a first aid course for parents. They told a story of a Mum who was terrified of her kid getting a door slammed on her fingers. So she took the doors off in her house.

First thing that happens when the kid goes to play with a friend is that she gets her fingers slammed in door!

This approach is very similar. We shouldn’t be preventing kids from going to these places, we should be educating them not to.


Mike (profile) says:

Re: Call Barring

Well, the article specifically says “internet chats” and the device is called the “Phone & Net Guard” so I’m not sure that’s right either – though, it *would* make at least a tiny bit more sense.

I’m now wondering who the hell judges this huge invention convention – and just how bad all those other inventions must have been.

msykes says:

Re: your news sources

Okay, anybody else notice the mother was kind of hot? “former model” as the article says.

I think what we really have here is a good example of how absolutely pathetic a bunch of male geeks can be. “Hey, I have an idea, let’s give the award to that cute girl over there and maybe she will go out with us!”

Now if she’s really clever she’ll start selling a list of phone numbers that you should block with the device for an additional 29.95$. Updated every month for a 10$ a month subscription.

I wonder how many numbers the unit can hold? I have a really bad feeling it’s some pitifully small number like 10.


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