HOME TECH TRENDS ONLINE SAFETY SOCIAL NETWORKING APP COLLECTIONS HOW-TO THE ONLINE MOM BLOG ARCHIVE EN ESPAÑOL
Technology A-Z
 
The Internet
 
Tech Hardware
 
Tech Software
 
Video Games
 
Protecting Your Children
 
FAQs
 
Getting Help
 
The Online Mom Network
 


Learn about The Online Mom Network
Join The Online Mom Network
How Do I Become An Online Mom?


The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

E-Mail & Instant Messaging (IM)

In a generation, e-mail and instant messaging have become the most widely used ways to communicate. Nowadays, everyone you know has an e-mail address, and quite possibly several. And, whether you use it or not, your computer also has built-in tools you can use to send and receive "instant messages." Let's step back a moment and take a closer look at both of these technologies.

"E-mail" is the shorthand term for any electronic communication system that allows people to create, send, receive, and retain messages using "store-and-forward" (your message is sent to an intermediate location, which keeps it, and forwards it to you later when you ask for it).

Custom software

Nowadays, most (but not all) e-mail systems send their messages across the Internet. Many people get their email accounts from their "ISPs" - the people who provide their Internet connections. To work with these email accounts, you use specialized e-mail software. That software comes with your computer: on Windows, it's called Outlook Express; on the Mac, it's simply called Mail. These programs are relatively simple. People who rely heavily on email often use more powerful software, such as: Thunderbird (Windows/Mac/Linux); Microsoft Outlook (Windows); Microsoft Entourage (Macintosh); or PowerMail (Macintosh).

These programs provide text editors in which you write your message, as well as tools for adding attachments such as pictures, documents, or audio clips. When you click Send, they communicate with your ISP's email "server," a special computer that's in charge of forwarding your message across the public Internet towards its destination. As with all information sent across the Internet, your message is split into packets, each with an address. Each packet may follow a different route to get to its destination. When they all arrive, your message stored at another server until someone logs in to get it.

Get it for FREE!

There's another way to get an email account: from a free Web-based service like Microsoft's Windows Live Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, or Google's Gmail. To use these services, you typically log on to the provider's Web site, and create and read messages on Web pages specially designed for the purpose. Many people prefer Web-based email for three reasons: first, because it's free; second, because you can get your email from any computer that has an Internet connection; and third, because you can keep your email address even if you change your ISP. Some people use also free Web-based email as a backup for their primary email accounts.

Sending email is free: that's why you get so much junk email. In fact, the vast majority of email sent nowadays is "Spam": disreputable offers to sell you drugs, illegal software, and other merchandise; phony stock tips; or "phishing" attempts to trick you into revealing personal identification. Many email providers try to keep this junk out of your mailbox, but some of it slips through. Some email software also comes with anti-Spam tools. If yours doesn't, you should consider getting add-on software that does, such as iHateSpam or Cloudmark Desktop.

IM takes over

A few years ago, e-mail was considered the height of technology, but ask your kids what they think of it: chances are, they'll tell you it's yesterday's technology. For many kids, email is the best way to communicate with parents or teachers, but not with their own friends. It's not immediate enough. What is? Cellphone texting, or computer-based instant messaging, a.k.a., "IM."

With instant messaging, your message doesn't wait for someone to check an email account: it appears in a box on their desktop as soon as you send it – and if your recipient sees it, he or she can respond immediately. As with email, instant messaging software is built into nearly all modern computers. And if you don't like the IM setup you've been given, you choose a different one: also free. Today's most popular IM services include AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, Skype and iMessage, but they're not the only ones. One key difference between instant messaging and email is that the leading IM systems don't talk to each other. Until recently, to converse with people, you had to be on the same system as them. Now, though, there is a workaround: free add-on software like Pidgin and Trillian.



Permalink | Print | Email

Share this article!
Partner with Online Mom Media
Online Mom Media specializes in building powerful communities of influencers! [read on]
Join the BUZZ!
Join @theonlinemom and friends TODAY at 12 noon PT (3pm ET) as we Spring into Green! Great prizes! #VZWBuzz
[read on]
The Online Mom Blog
Connecting Your Mobile Lifestyle [read on]
Cómo encontrar en línea las mejores ofertas
Visite La Online Mom en Español!
[read on]
Stacey Ross on The Online Mom
Catch up on the digital lifestyle with Stacey Ross! [read on]
PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One: Parental Controls
Which of the new gaming consoles offers better parental supervision?
[read on]
How To Make the Most of Those Daily Deals
Take a closer look at those daily deals to make sure you're getting a bargain! [read on]
Watch Out! Your Wristband Is Tracking You…
New ways to monitor two of the most important elements that factor into our overall health: exercise and sleep
[read on]
How To Beat Spam with Disposable E-Mail Addresses
There's an alternative to giving out your online information (or turning into a digital recluse): the disposable e-mail! [read on]
Managing Your Online Reputation
There are some simple steps we can take to safeguard our online reputations
[read on]
7 Apps for Finding Stuff Online
Loking to buy and sell online? Your smartphone can help! [read on]
How to Manage Your Cell Phone Bill
Don't be overwhelmed by that cell phone bill. We offer 7 tips that can help
[read on]
7 Social Networking Tips for Graduates
About to graduate? It's time to clean up those social networking accounts! [read on]
The Best Apps for Staying in Shape
10 great apps for turning your smartphone or tablet into your workout buddy!
[read on]
7 Steps to Smartphone Safety
Buying that first smartphone for your child? Make safety a top priority! [read on]
10 Essential Apps for the Busy Mom
Turn your smartphone into your very own personal assistant!
[read on]
Tweens and Facebook:
Do you think children under the age of 13 should be allowed on Facebook?

Yes
No
Not Sure




© 2011 the online mom, all rights reserved | site map ABOUT     MEET THE TEAM     CONTACT US     ADVERTISE     PRESS     PRIVACY     LEGAL