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The operators of these lines charged participants on a per minute basis, for example, 95 cents for the first minute and 45 cents for each additional.After the first party lines opened, the fad exploded.One Chicago reverend compared party lines to crack, PCP, television, and VCRs.“Now here come the 900 numbers to finish the job on our children’s minds,” she told in 1988.Thereafter, it was on the parents, who could also pay to the 900 Service Corporation to block the numbers. ”“I’m five foot five, I have brown hair and blue eyes — no, brown eyes…”“Kids enjoy making up a new identity because on a phone you can be whoever you want to be,” Christopher Woods of the Friendship Network, a chat line company out of Los Angeles, told .Some chat lines attempted to appease parents by adding moderators who periodically reminded teens of the price per minute.“I got on at 1 in the morning, and I didn’t get off till 6 in the morning,” one girl said on Connections, according to the .“Your phone bills are going to be high,” warned another.“I don’t care,” she said. “Every guy on the line will say he drives a Porsche or some other exciting car.Then parents saw the bills — their kids had charged hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars worth of calls in the space of weeks.“I wanted to kill her,” said Chicago parent Sharon Croll.

Around the country, kids dialed numbers like 550-TEEN for access to party lines, otherwise known as group bridging services.A phone chatline is a special way to meet singles because you get to hear people’s voices to get an instant connection. I play football.”“Are you the person who was talking about lacrosse last night?Teens learned they could dial a simple phone number and charge any rates directly to their parents’ phone bill.Marketers knew it, and advertised party lines during after school television programs and in teen magazines.

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“You can’t catch anything over the phone,” insisted chat line operator Betsy Superfon.

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