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Monday, October 04, 2004

Kids & the new MSN Messenger

Chances are - if they already use MSN Messenger (as opposed to AOL's or Yahoo's) - your kids already have it. Even though it's not officially "in beta" (being tested by the average Net user), it's unofficially all over the place, CNET reports. Here's MSN's download page. If your child (or her whole buddy list!) is one of those early adopters, have her show you the cool new features - avatars (little animations that represent the IMer); "winks" and "nudges" (the latter makes an IM partner's screen shake); and a search bar (so IMers can search for things while chatting). Kids love to "express their personal style," as MSN's ad copy puts it, which is why it's quite likely kids will be rushing to download this latest iteration. Just make sure they don't put any personally identifiable information in their IM profiles (ask your kid if you can have a look at his profile), and go through Preferences together to see what is and isn't allowed (such as IMs from people not on their buddy list). It also never hurts to ask them who all those people (screennames) are on their buddy list - anybody they don't know? For more on this, see "IM risks & tips" in my newsletter.


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