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Cyber Patrol listens in on chat rooms

Cyber Patrol now prevents children from divulging personal information in chat rooms.

The latest version of Microsystems Software's Cyber Patrol parental control filter prevents children from divulging any personal information in chat rooms, as well as block access to pornographic or violent online material.

The company announced Cyber Patrol 3.0 today at a workshop on online privacy sponsored Federal Trade Commission. The FTC had organized the event to address concerns about how marketing information gathered at a Web site is used, specifically fears that sexual predators are getting access to information about children online.

The new ChatGuard feature prevents children from divulging phone numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, and even obscenities determined by their parents. If, for example, a child were to type in one of the prohibited words or phrases, a string of X characters goes online instead.

Parents can tailor the filter for different members of the family and also use the tool to limit the amount of time any one person spends online.

Microsystems Software says the program is available for sale at their Web site for $29.95. CompuServe and Prodigy users will be able to use the program for free sometime in the fall, according to the company.