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Kids Turn Computers

Have you been IM'd?

AOL IM AIM is America Online's Instant Messenger. Anyone can use it and it can be downloaded for free. Using AIM you can find out when your friends and acquaintances are online. You can then chat and share files with them.


About AIM
I spoke with Good Chatting founder Julie Martin about AIM.

Julie is one of many who think that AOL IM is the easiest IM out there.

There aren't so many bells and whistles that it gets confusing, but there are enough to make it interesting, Julie says. For example, the IM image icons make it fun for everyone to pick an image to be associated with themselves. Julie likes to use a smiley face.

Julie noted that AOL's program also lets you block users from IMing you -- something that's important for anyone, including kids, to make sure they have a good chatting experience.

However, ICQ is Julie's choice of IM-type programs. Not only can you ignore others, but you can put people on a list to always be invisible to them, or you can log on and be invisible to anyone but your friends.

She stresses the importance of this so that people don't get messages from strangers that they may not want to chat with.

"I just feel safer with ICQ's security features, too, like hiding the IP address of your computer, and the ability to have someone request to put you on their contact list." states Julie.

Overall, Julie finds that IMs are faster than email, but less crowded than a chat room. In other words, a good way to have a quick conversation with a friend.

Still, she reminds us, we should all be careful while chatting through IMs. Putting too much personal information into your profile can be dangerous, so I never put in anything but the vaguest details about myself.

Learn more about and/or download AOL Instant Messenger

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Topics | Computers