In an announcement today, Yahoo has closed their user created chat rooms after a Houston news report showed that the service was used to create rooms, such as “9-17 Year Olds Wantin’ Sex” where minors looked for sex with older men. Once companies such as Pepsi Co. and State Farm learned the service they placed ads on was used in such a manner they pulled their advertising. Yahoo is now looking for ways to fix their service, hoping to later reinstate the chat room service to users without the sex.
Chat rooms are a common practice in the online world, and rooms such as the ones that led to Yahoo to shut down the service are not uncommon. Just earlier this week a movie which showed the story of one woman, Julie Posey, fighting this online practice appeared on the Lifetime network.
With the creation of the Internet, so many children are now spending their nights in front of their computer screens, and their world is opened up to anyone that wants to instant message them or email them.
This even expands to a greater number if the child decides to open up an online journal. Journaling sites such as live journal and Blogger are both popular with teens and adults alike. Many teens write daily in their journals about their life, leaving those entries public to the world. Some of those entries contain very personal information, even pointing to the exact address or phone number where the child lives.
Men may pose as younger than their years or not even go that far and befriend young children. Luring them to sex, and meeting offline. I applaud for Yahoo taking this action because at least shows they are aware of the situation, and they will make a change. If only more would take such a stance, but no matter what happens this problem just won’t go away. That’s the scary part.
To read more about children and blogging find an article on that topic here.
To learn more about Julie Posey, visit her site here.