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There has been growing concern among experts that the anonymity of net chat means young people are being targeted by adults pretending to be children."We have seen cases where under-16s have been approached by people pretending to be same age, but who are grown adults trying to solicit young people for abusive contact," Mr Whittingham explained.It has a no-nudity policy -though this is not very well moderated at times- and it will bounce you to the ‘unmoderated’ section if you get banned, where the ratio of girls to guys is far, far worse (1 in 50 to 1 in 100 at times). To get unbanned, you will either need to wait a couple of weeks, or reset your dynamic IP address if you have one. They will also continue to make MSN Messenger free to users.Mr Whittingham said all net services offering chatrooms should continue to look at how they can safeguard everyone on the internet, ensuring young people and parents stick to common sense advice.By only making instant messaging available, chatters will be able to restrict and control who they talk to because they can only chat to people on their "buddy lists".People need to ask permission to be a "buddy" and they need to know the user's e-mail address to make a request, which means most children only have "buddies" who they know outside the internet.
Microsoft's internet service MSN is to cut back drastically its chatroom services because of concerns about child safety, it said.
"We have been concerned about chatrooms for a while and reached a stage where we were no longer prepared to put up with inappropriate communication," he said.
The only chat service available to MSN users in the UK will be the free instant messaging service, MSN Messenger, which is not so open and gives people more control over who they talk to.
MSN is closing all its chatrooms in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and most of Asia from 14 October, and changing the way others are operated globally.
"As a responsible leader we feel it necessary to make these changes because online chat services are increasingly being misused," it said.