Children’s charities welcome closure of MSN chatrooms

The decision by one of the world’s biggest internet providers
MSN to close all its chatrooms in the UK and Europe in a bid to
protect children from paedophiles has been welcomed by
children’s charities, writes Sally

Internet safety expert at the NSPCC, Christine
Atkinson, said the move was a “positive step forward and will
help close a major supply line for sex abusers who go to great
lengths to gain access to innocent children by grooming them on the

John Carr, internet advisor at NCH, described
the decision as “bold and radical,” adding that if a
company as big as Microsoft was unable to keep children safe in its
chatrooms, then other smaller providers would need to ask
themselves if they could.

“We are not saying that we want every
chatroom to be closed down. But the real issue is authenticating
the users when they are online. If chat providers can solve this
problem there would be fewer worries. But Microsoft has obviously
looked at it and decided it 
isn’t a viable option,” said Carr.

But Liberal Democrat spokesperson for children
Paul Burstow said Microsoft’s decision would not protect
children from paedophiles because they would switch to chatrooms
that were even more unsafe.

He said: “Rather than bailing out,
Microsoft should be taking steps to ensure that chat rooms are

“The danger now must be that children
using MSN will want to keep in touch with friends they made in the
chatroom. That need is what paedophiles prey on. Rather than
running away from the problem Microsoft should be taking the lead
making their chatrooms the goldstandard of internet safety,”
added Burstow.


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