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Kids turn on to instant messaging

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More young people are using Internet instant messaging to keep in touch with friends. They talk to several people at once.

The short messages fly back and forth on the computer screen as preteens and teens use the Internet to visit. According to one survey, 77 percent of 9- to 12-year-olds have Internet access. That number rises to 83 percent for 12- to 17-year-olds.

Experts say parents need to keep an eye on them. Kids don't always know who is talking back when they chat on line. They should be warned "not to talk to strangers" on line as well as in person. Parents should make it a point to know what abbreviations mean, like "bbfn" (bye-bye for now). At Cyberpatrol, a parental software company, they say parents should ask what an unknown acronym means. And they suggest that kids use a code or salutation that only friends know. They should be warned not to give out phone numbers or personal information on line.

Abbreviations for cyber-chat include:
: Ends a message with a grin.
: Rolling on the floor laughing.
: Away from keyboard.
: Bye for now.
: Be right back.
: See you later.
: End of discussion.
: Grinning, running & ducking.
: Have a nice day.
: In real life.
: Know what I mean?
: Laughing out loud.
: Oh, by the way.
: Problem exists between chair and keyboard.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Kids turn on to instant messaging

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