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Newsgroups, forums, and bulletin boards are areas on the Internet where people can exchange ideas, recipes, facts, stories, photos, or just about anything else. There are thousands of newsgroups on all sorts of topics, including hobbies, sports, professions, schools - you name it. Most newsgroups are quite good, but there are some that contain material that is definitely not appropriate for children. Be especially wary of any newsgroup that starts with "Alt." "Alt" stands for "Alternative" and, while many Alt newsgroups are fine, some contain material that is sexual, violent, hateful, and otherwise inappropriate. Some software tools do exist which can prevent your children from accessing inappropriate newsgroups.

Also, it's important that children learn never to respond to newsgroup messages without checking with their parents. In general, when you respond to a message, you're not just responding to that person but broadcasting your response to anyone who joins the group. Anything you type can be read by anyone.

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