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

“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 safe.

“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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