Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Stance Will Drive Chat Underground

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Stance Will Drive Chat Underground

Article excerpt

I read the comments made in the Chronicle about Microsoft closing most chatrooms, and the way that you have applauded their stance in this matter.

However I feel that one slight problem has been overlooked.

As a father and a teacher I know for a fact that chatrooms are part of the youth culture of today (as is texting) in a way that we, as adults, find difficult to understand. Do you honestly think that Microsoft closing down chat rooms in the UK will stop young people from using chatrooms per se? The answer is no.

What if all the big players, Yahoo et al, decided to follow suit? What happens then? Quite simply, it becomes more difficult for us as adults, parents and educators to keep an eye on things at all. We will only succeed in driving the chatrooms underground. Using chatrooms then becomes something to hide from the adults around them.

When you look at the way that computers are used in the home, can you actually tell me that the vast majority of homes have adults that are more able on new technology then the children in the house? I don't think so...

I have first-hand experience of the problems associated with ICT at home. Twelve years ago I was the one with the knowledge. I am still computer literate and use them every day. However I now find that when I get stuck with ICT problems, I usually end up asking my children to help me. Nine times out of 10 they don't just tell me what to do, I get the `move over Dad' and they then sort the problem... hands and brain moving faster then I can keep up. I do ask for an explanation sometimes, but usually I am just happy to get back to what I was attempting to do.

Come on Microsoft, rethink your strategy. Better control, easier parental access and controls etc. Or parents, use the Off button if you are not sure.

Or sit with them when they are on chatrooms. Or enable parents to have access to full logs of their times in the chatrooms. Or newspapers, support more control for parents, teachers...

I think that it is a bad idea for Microsoft to do what they are suggesting.

I would like a debate on the problem if at all possible. Let us hear from professionals, teachers and the children themselves. …

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