|Chat / Instant messaging (IM)|
|Written by Paul Scott|
|Thursday, 14 May 2009 13:16|
Instant messaging (IM) has proved more popular than chat rooms in recent years. Common messaging clients include Yahoo Messenger , AOL Instant Messenger, Google Talk and MSN Messenger (Windows Live Messenger).
The communication is similar to a chat room whereby users send text to a shared window to communicate. The main difference is that chat rooms are designed for group communications and these groups are often people you haven't met. Instant Messaging is usually one to one conversations (although you can invite more than one person to a session) and the people involved are invited directly through buddy / contact lists.
This type of communication is very popular with young children and teenagers; it is a very cost effective way of keeping in touch with friends and colleagues. When you log on to your IM client you can see which of your buddies is online and you can set up a conversation with them by clicking their name on your list. You can choose to accept an 'invitation' to talk with a contact or refuse it. You are also in control of who is on your buddy list. Many of the top IM clients now offer file sharing and other 'extras' to improve the way you communicate including speech and video support.
Although IM uses contact / buddy lists children do share contacts and you can never guarantee a contact you have been given by someone else is genuine. Some of the IM clients also allow the storage of personal information such as phone number and e-mail address which can then be shared with your buddies when you are chatting and you cannot guarantee where that data will end up. File sharing between users can be dangerous as the files shared could be malicious causing damage to your PC or undermining the security of your personal data. Sharing may encourage users to share images of themselves and use webcams during messaging. Be wary of following links to websites suggested by buddies as the links can lead to malicious code. The standard rules for online communication apply; never give out personal details such as phone numbers, email addresses, etc. If you feel offended by the content report the abuse on any systems that are available, log out and make an adult aware of your concerns. Most IM clients have a facility to log conversations; there have been reported incidents of cyber bullying using IM.
To find out how IM works and how to set it up click here
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 17:29|