The Monitoring Obsession Reaches Mobile Chatrooms

from the doesn't-work dept

Over the last few years, the number of overhyped stories about the so-called “threats” of chat rooms have resulted in online services like MSN and Yahoo shutting down their chatrooms, which only means that kids who want to chat will go elsewhere — often places that are more questionable. Over in Australia, it seems that many are using mobile chat services leading to fears that children will be preyed upon in mobile chat rooms. Many operators there are apparently trying to use some kind of chat monitoring software — but those seem unlikely to work very well. It’s nearly an impossible task to try to monitor real time chat communications — and in many ways, the effort seems more damaging. Rather than spending so much money putting in place ineffective monitoring software, why isn’t the money being spent on education campaigns? Kids are going to find a place to chat no matter what. All the monitoring software does is give parents a false sense of security that their children are somehow safe. Wouldn’t it be better to focus on educating children about the dangers they may face, and teaching them how to be smart chat users? This way, they still get to chat, but are more aware and ready to deal with the potential dangers. It certainly beats shutting down some chat rooms or using ineffective monitoring software.

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