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How Instant Messaging Security Works

        Tech | E-mail & Messaging

On average, teens send at least one instant message daily.
On average, teens send at least one instant message daily.
Alison Michael Orenstein/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Instant messaging is fast, fun, versatile and downright addictive. According to the latest statistics from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 34 percent of online teenage girls and 25 percent of online teenage boys send at least one instant message every day [source: Pew Internet & American Life Project]. When you consider that 95 percent of all teenagers in America are "online," it's enough to make even the most stubborn e-mail dinosaur say "OMG."

With the popularity of TV programs like "To Catch a Predator," many parents are concerned about the safety of IM. Does IM make teenagers more vulnerable to sexual predators? Is IM any more dangerous than online social networks like MySpace and Facebook, or even e-mail?

The truth is that by taking some simple precautions, both teenagers and adults can enjoy IM safely.

How do you keep your computer safe while instant messaging? How do you keep your family safe? Read on to find out.