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Yahoo lets parents restrict children online

Yahoo introduces a family account registration service to protect children younger than 13 years old who use the Web to communicate online.

SANTA CLARA, California--Yahoo introduced a family account registration service to protect children younger than 13 years old who use the Web to communicate online.

Parents or supervising adults can restrict whom their children can email, chat, or message. Parents can register children's friends and determine what information is visible to others, such as age and gender. They also can monitor or track their children's online activity.

Yahoo is trying to offer different ways for Internet users to protect their privacy as consumers clamor for more controls amid fears of online abuse of personal information.

The Santa Clara, California, company decided to focus on communication areas for children's protection because email, chat, and other communication offers more potential dangers than just looking at adult-content Web sites or reading adult material.

"Having a direct two-way communication poses some risks or vulnerabilities," said Srinija Srinivasan, Yahoo editor in chief. The family account service "helps protect the privacy of the child's information."

When Yahoo users are identified as younger than age 13 through the registration process, supervising adults must create a Yahoo family account. The adults must provide a credit card to register the child. The credit card won't be debited in the process; it simply identifies that the adult registering the child is older than 18 years old.

Copyright 1999, Bloomberg L.P. All Rights Reserved.

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