This is an interesting tech tool pointing to a growing safety need, but it poses a problem where online kids are concerned. I'm referring to the age-old problem of technology: that along with its many positives, there are downsides, and everybody gets more out of the positives when alert to the downsides too. So here's the new service: BeeMask.com, which allows people using online chat to "take it to the next level," so to speak – move from text chat on the Web to voice chat on the phone without giving out their phone numbers. How it works: 2 people in a chat room go to BeeMask.com and register (give the site their phone numbers instead of each other). If they're already registered, they just agree in the chatroom on a common word (like a temporary password, "talk2ya"), then go to BeeMask, both type that word into the box, and "when the second Beeword is entered, a phone call is connected between your real-life phones," according to the site's FAQ . Great for two adults who just want to talk but aren't quite ready to give out phone numbers – a safety feature, in fact. Not so great if someone with bad intentions thinks a child might be more easily compelled to give out further info in a voice conversation.
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