Channel One Temporarily Halts Dangerous Chat Rooms For Kids

September 3, 1998

After two years of putting their
own interests ahead of the welfare of children, Channel One has
finally halted their chat rooms for children. Obligation feels
somewhat responsible for the slow evolution in Channel One’s
thinking. At one time Channel One allowed children to enter into
"private rooms" with anonymous Internet users. At one
time Channel One requested "optional information" from
children like a child’s phone number, home address, email address,
and the URL site where Internet users could see a child’s picture.

"Channel One needs to apologize
for many things, but first on their list should be an apology
to all principals, teachers, and, most importantly, parents for
ever encouraging children to go to their chat rooms. Chat rooms
are often the first feature parents block out for their children
when a family gets Internet access," said Jim Metrock, president
of Obligation.

"The credit for unplugging
Channel One’s chat rooms goes to the Shelby County (AL) Board
of Education in a meeting on Sept. 1." [A more detailed
account of this incredible meeting will be posted later.]

"The real heroes in ending,
at least temporarily, these potential dangerous chat rooms are
the members of the Shelby County Board of Education. One member
in particular, Trey Ireland, documented Channel One’s web advertisers
and the offensive content children could easily reach from,"
Metrock said. "Mr. Ireland and the Shelby County board and
Evan Major, the superintendent, deserve the gratitude of the
entire state of Alabama for exposing Channel One’s disregard
for the children visitors it lures to its web site."

"There is no way to know
if children have met with harm from meeting someone on Channel
One’s chat rooms. Channel One needs to close down their web site
and issue an apology. Channel One should also assure school boards
that if the board is ever sued for a child getting hurt due to
the promoting of Channel One’s chat rooms during school time,
then Channel One will pay for the board’s defense. Channel One
failed to ask school boards for permission to promote their web
site and chat rooms to students," said Metrock.

"Channel One is scared to
death of Senate hearings. They have tried mightily to clean up
the trash they have thrown at kids on their discredited TV show
and on their web site," said Metrock. "This company
will go right back to their old ways once the spotlight is taken
off. The battle to get Channel One out of schools is just beginning."