Channel One Brings Back Message Boards To Controversial Web Site

September 11, 1998
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Channel One had removed several
features from their controversial web site after a Channel One
executive was lectured by the Shelby County board of education
on September 1 (see below). They removed the "Entertainment"
and "Life" sections that often contained age inappropriate
material for children, especially pre-teens (such as reviews
of R-rated movies and explicit-content Cds, sex and dating advice,
an article on how to cheat on book reports). The potentially
dangerous chat room were removed. Their "message boards"
were kids often gave detailed personal information about themselves
to anonymous Internet visitors was also halted.


Also, all advertising was taken
off their site. Their links to ABC’s "Mr. Showbiz was removed.
A few days later they removed ABC’s News and Sports links thereby
severing their web connections with ABC News. (ABC News has been
using its partnership with Channel One to advertise specific
programs and promote its brand to Channel One’s captive audience.)


Now, just days after apparently
appearing to address its multiple web problems, Channel One is
going back to its old ways. First, advertising is back on Channel
One’s web site. Bonusmail.com is the first advertiser we have
seen. This company asks children for their first and last name
and their email address. Their "privacy statement"
is not on the same page as their request for personal information
from children. There is no suggestion that children get permission
from their parents before giving this personal information.


Jim Metrock, Obligation president,
said, "Educational sites for children should not have any
ads. Of course, everyone knows Channel One primary goal is not
to educate but to advertise products and services to children.
Still, Channel One should try to be sensitive to children."


The "message boards"
are also back only days after being removed. Now they are "moderated".
Channel One says that any message now posted must be approved
of by Channel One employees. Metrock said, "I do not understand
why this company keeps pushing the envelope. Parents will find
little comfort in knowing that Channel One employees are ‘watching
the kids.’ I think their attorney will see too much liability
for Channel One in guaranteeing the message board area."


Metrock said, "Channel One
is telling children that their chat rooms are ‘temporarily’ down.
The message to kids seems to be: The chat rooms will be back
after the spotlight gets off of us. Channel One continues to
be its worst enemy."