February 01, 2006 03:00 PM

Nick Lachey is joining the online game. The pop star tells PEOPLE he was at a restaurant last summer when “a lady came up to the table and told me that my name is one of the more frequent names used by predators to lure kids online. That was really disturbing.”

The lady was Parry Aftab, a privacy lawyer. And the encounter eventually led to Nick’s involvement in a safe Internet chat and networking site created for teens, which blocks uninvited guests. Lachey is a cofounder of www.yfly.com, which was expected to launch Thursday.

“We thought we could do something special, if we all put our resources together,” Lachey says. “This is new to me. The whole thing of networking online wasn’t around when I was a teen. I wasn’t aware of how big a problem this was. And when you are 17 you have no idea of who you are dealing with.”

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