Instant messaging (IM) is a form of real-time online chat which is private between two people. It is not moderated, and cannot be joined by others.
When you send an instant message, it goes straight to the person you sent it to, and appears on their computer screen almost immediately. IM can also be used to send files or conduct voice conversations over the internet.
With instant messaging, others are notified when a user signed up to the service goes online. This is the reason it works so well. However, if used on a shared computer, the instant messaging service may automatically sign on when another user connects to the internet, so giving a misleading impression of who is online.
A recent study found that 75% of teens aged 12 to 17 use instant messaging, and of those surveyed 48% say that they use Instan Messaging at least once every day keeping in touch with their friends.
It is important to remember that while it is an easy way for friends to keep in touch, it is just as easy for bullies to pursue. It is important that 'acceptable use policies' implemented by schools should not forget the use of Instant Messaging Software.
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