“IM” is short for “instant messaging.” IM offers users the ability to have real-time conversations online. IM can be compared to emailing and text messaging. The difference, however, is that IM has the speed of a private chat room and messages are sent instantaneously. Instant messaging has become increasingly popular among youth because of its quick and almost immediate messaging capabilities and also the ability to message in groups. However, parents have become worried about the different dangers that instant messaging or IM may pose for their children’s safety. Any concerns can be dispelled when a parent helps their child to follow certain precautions when using IM.
Help your child to see the importance of keeping any personal information private. Never send your address social security number or other personal information in an instant message. Warn your child not to message strangers. Don’t reply to and ignore instant messages from someone you don’t know.
Also, your child should not click strange links- even if they are sent by trusted friends. This will protect the computer against viruses that can harm or destroy important data. You should also only allow your children to be on a secure instant messaging network. Following these rules and will ensure a safe and fun IM experience for any child.