Microsoft is shutting down MSN chat rooms around the world because they claim that they are unsafe for children. However, will this make the Internet a safer place?
The short answer is: NO. Taking away just one channel out of a possible unlimited channels where minors can chat does not a safer Internet make. In fact, it might even be more dangerous. The danger is if parents are lulled into a false sense of security by the move. Minors still can have access to Instant Messaging (whether MSN, Yahoo!, AOL or ICQ) or other on-line bulletin boards.
And with Microsoft being a market leader, their social responsibilities are higher. What is astounding is that Microsoft chose the easy way out (by shutting down) instead of doing something more proactive to mitigate the problem. MSN portals could and should be used by Microsoft to teach children about safe Internet surfing.
Of course, one can’t deny the financial aspect of the move as Microsoft can cut it’s MSN portal operation costs down. But in this case, they should have put people