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Thursday, September 02, 2004

IM: Grownups catching up?

Well, the numbers are growing - more than 40% of online Americans 18+ now instant message (53 million), according to just-released figures from the Pew Internet & American Life project. But look at the breakdown from AOL's survey that included teens (in 20 large cities, as opposed to Pew's rural and urban sample): 90% of 13-to-21-year-olds IM, 71% of those 22-34, 55% of people 35-54, and 48% of those 55 and up, the Washington Post reports. Something important that parents might want to remember: Adults use IM differently from kids, and it behooves parents to get a handle on how their kids are using this popular tool of the teen social scene. Here's the online safety piece: expression vs. protection in IM. "Instant messagers use the expressive tools of IM [buddy icons, online profiles, avatars] more frequently than the protective tools that allow them to block unwanted communications. Buddy list management also occurs relatively infrequently, with users reporting adding or deleting buddies from their list no more than a few times a month." For more on this, have a look at "IM risks & tips," based on an interview with Tim LaFazia, PC security expert and father of six.


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