January 26, 1998 – Channel One Ceases Their Dangerous “Fresh Faces” Section
Within the past two months, Channel One has listened to our our pleas and has ditched their dangerous “Fresh Faces” feature. This was another one of Channel One’s self-promotions that allowed children to put their pictures on the Internet.
Like most of the things Channel One does, it was an idea that would never have gotten by a parent of a middle-school child.
“We are happy Channel One has, again, listened to our suggestion,” said Jim Metrock, Obligation president. “As they throw away one bad idea, they will be thinking up some new ones. They are marketers, and ‘kids are their game’.”
Fall 1997 – One of Channel One’s newest features in the fall of 1997 is the disturbing “Fresh Faces” feature. This can be found by going to www.channelone.com (as schoolchildren are told to do everyday in school) and go to their “Life” section.
We thought they discontinued it once, but they returned with yet another 12-year-old “fresh face”.
“Fresh Faces” is yet another promotional gimmick to get students at school interested in Channel One’s web site. Here (if you are lucky) you can have your picture on the Internet! Channel One will tell the world all about you.
Below is a sample of a child whose picture can now be seen by millions of Internet users. Obligation has erased the pre-teen’s last name, her school name, and the city she where she lives.
The Internet is the perfect environment for child predators.
In October 1997, a 15-year-old California boy was reunited with his parents after a man he meet on the Internet sent him a bus ticket to live with him in North Carolina. The boy was with the man for a month. Internet connections harm children every week.
Parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, and school board members do not need to underestimate the potential harm the Internet can do to “normal, mainstream” students.
With the information Channel One asked this girl to provide, anyone could find her. In fact, using the Internet, Obligation found the address and the phone number of her school in minutes. (Obligation has blanked out this student’s last name, school name, city and state.) If we wanted to, we could have found her street address and home phone number. Instead, we sent a email to her school’s web site informing them of the situation. They contacted her mother who told school officials that she knew her daughter was on Channel One’s web site.
We firmly believe that that mother does not fully appreciate the dangers of Internet, especially pre-teens.
“But that is the Internet. That doesn’t concern the school. We only show the TV show Channel One. Most students don’t even have access to the Internet. What they do on their time is no concern of ours, and we certainly are not going to be accountable for any harm done to a student because of actions he or she has taken at home.”
The only – THE ONLY – way a child knows about Channel One’s web site is by watching and listening to the daily commercials for this web site on the in-school TV show. If a school board has required Channel One to be a part of a student’s school day, then that board is pushing Channel One’s web site – and pushing hard.
Does it matter that individual school board members do not have knowledge of the content of the in-school show or the web site? No. A reasonably prudent board member should have investigated Channel One. They should know that this is a very controversial TV show and even more controversial web site for children.
Obligation’s first concern is and always will be the welfare of children. Another concern with Channel One, however, is the harm it may cause innocent lay school board members who never voted to expose Channel One to students, who inherited the program, who never even knew it was in their school system.
“Fresh Faces” is just one of several ways students visiting the site can give out personal information about themselves to Channel One advertisers and the faceless, anonymous millions of Internet users.
Please visit our section about child predators and the Internet.