New York and Nebraska began their investigations this year after learning that children had unfettered access to adult chat rooms.
One investigator, posing as a 14-year-old girl, reported receiving 35 personal messages of a sexual nature over 25 minutes, Spitzer said.
During the period 20002002 we conducted more than 200 interviews with children and young people and conducted case studies in homes, schools, libraries, cybercafes and other places where the Internet is accessed. But it was also clear from our interviews that many were more active in chatrooms than their parents and other adults realised.
It also agreed to develop education materials promoting the safe use of chat rooms.
In a statement, spokeswoman Mary Osako said Yahoo will also enhance online users' safety by restricting Yahoo Chat to users 18 and older and removing the Teen category.
Yahoo is committed to continue to work with (the) law enforcement community, to minimize, target and take action against such behavior." The agreement is "an affirmative step for Yahoo," Spitzer said at a news conference.
The attorney general said his office will look at other Internet service providers that may have similar problems.
Such conversations in the dark allow us to be reaffirmed in the images we have of ourselves rather than being constrained by our consciousness of all the shortcomings that others might see in us.
Our interviews suggest that part of the appeal of chatrooms for the young lies in the opportunities that they provide to experiment with extended or alternative identities.
As a place to meet and talk with strangers, one of the appeals of cyberspace lies in its visual silence.
Chatrooms, in particular, combine the closeness and directness of the personal letter with the interactivity of the phone conversation, so sidestepping the contemporary obsession with personal appearance and liberating us from the constraints that this imposes.
The agreement with the attorneys general of New York and Nebraska is the first to institute systemwide controls over chat rooms likely to be frequented by child predators.
Yahoo said it voluntarily suspended all user-created chat rooms on June 15 and is evaluating whether to reinstate the ability of users to create them.
The senders of those messages appeared to be adult chat room participants, he said.