WASHINGTON (11/20/07)--Instant messaging (IM) is just one more way teens are communicating today. Nearly half of kids, age 13 to 18, said they use IM, according to an Associated Press-AOL poll (Associated Press
Nov. 16). And IM isn’t just something kids use once in a while to send a message or two. One of 10 kids said they spend three hours or more a day instant messaging, and 17% said they send 100 IMs a day. Chances are if you have kids they’re IMing--and they’re not going to stop. Instead of being scared of the technology, Microsoft encourages parents to:
* Learn the technology. Install the same IM program your kids use. Start chatting with friends and family. This way you’ll understand the technology your kids use every day. * Set time limits. Just as you might set time limits for watching TV or playing video games on Play Station Portable (PSP), make a rule about how much time children can spend online and stick to it. Consider purchasing software that tells kids how much time they have left on the computer. * Tell children to communicate only with contacts they recognize. Kids should decline and block messages from people or names they don't know. * Keep the computer in a central location. This can help you monitor what your kids are doing online and whom they communicate with.
For more information and to get a grasp on what all those IMs mean, read “OMG, It's an IM Lingo Guide for Parents” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center