In spite of it's features and appeal, it can however also be
dangerous. Instant messaging is not only key in children being
lured offline but a common method for hackers to invade and
virus. As a result, it's an area which deserves our attention.
Instant messaging programs are small chat programs which allow
you to do one on one chatting. You install the program on your
computer and it operates independent of your browser.
All instant messaging programs contain some form of Contact
List. You can add select people to your contact list then send
small private messages back and forth without the program interfering
with your other tasks.
While instant messaging programs are incredibly convenient
and easy to use, they require some special attention in terms
The following tips will help you stay safe while using any
instant messaging program.
1. Make sure that you do not include any real information in
your profile. It may ask for information but that does not mean
you MUST include real information. If you want to add details,
make them up.
2. Make sure you have adjusted your privacy settings so that
you are protected. (Our Security Section features detailed instructions
on how to do this.)
3. Do not add people to your buddy list that you do not know.
Sometimes strangers will make this request. You should always
4. Do not send or receive pictures. Instant messaging programs
can disguise files and you could find yourself on the receiving
end of a virus. Additionally you never know where that picture
you send might end up.
Instant Messaging Programs Designed for Children
It comes as no surprise that with instant messaging becoming
so popular there are now children's versions on the market.
This section is a brief over-view of what's available. Please
visit the sites for more information.
Yahooligans! is available at Yahoo! and is a specially designed
instant messaging program with built in safety features.
Some of the safety features include your child only being able
to receive messages from contacts in your list, a chat language
filter, the ability to block email addresses, and parents having
the ability to edit or adjust the security settings.