Monday, 29 October 2007

Holidays and MSN

Wow! We all had lie-ins this morning..........until the phone rang. Some people are so inconsiderate - don't they know we are on holiday?!
After months of pleading and begging, we set one of the PCs up so that LeeLee can 'communicate' with all her friends who use messenger on MSN.

As you have probably gathered, I am serious about Internet usage and the risks (both electronic and to children) and so LeeLee knows that a month's trial is what she has whilst I monitor how secure or not the messengering system is. Unfortunately it is not particularly safe, but LeeLee is sensible and knows how to minimise the problems.

What does annoy me is - so many people start using these systems and are really sitting ducks! They do not understand how they work and therefore what security you should put in place.

All her friends use MSN so that was what LeeLee wanted. It took some long talks and explanations until she realised that messengering is available through other providers - for example Orange, which we have for e-mail and Internet access already.

All the youth-focused publicity pushes them towards MSN and Hotmail as if there is no 'cool' alternative.

Well LeeLee was told in no uncertain terms that we would not be loading any other provider's systems just so that she could have typed, real-time conversations with the friends she sees all day anyway at college! We have Orange set up (just about successfully) and no way was I risking it getting confused - we have a business to run from these PCs!!

Anyway, as suspected, all you need is an e-mail address, and you can use one set up with any provider - even though every screen in the set-up process directed you to request an MSN one!

Also, if you glossed over the small print, you would not notice that by signing up to messenger (free of course) you are agreeing that they can 'link' you to various specially selected web sites that they are SURE you will be very interested in! Every time LeeLee goes into messenger, an error message comes up saying that our security settings need to be reduced in order that things can proceed....Bollocks! No such thing!! If you close and ignore the error message, messenger still works fine - you just do not get swamped by all the links they want to set up to you. They are such shysters.

It has been 48 hours and we have received two unsolicited e-mails that have obviously latched onto one of her friends' contact lists - where LeeLee now appears as of two days ago. Not too bad I suppose given that our girls know not to open any such e-mails but to delete them immediately.

I know LeeLee is delighted to be able to sit for an hour each evening and have real-time typed conversations with her friends - and it is the holidays so I can vaguely understand the attraction. Particularly when she never has any credit on her mobile phone and she does not have to pay for messenger!

I did laugh last evening when she had 3 'conversations going with her French friends, and then her best friend in England came on line - she started to get stressed remembering which language she was meant to be typing in each conversation window!!

In our day, we sat and chatted one to one on the phone........

On her way up to bed, LeeLee mentioned that she liked the fact that she could 'talk' to a particular guy (that she rather fancies at college me thinks!) much more easily via messenger. You do not have to worry about looking a bit goofy, or wondering about your hair/makeup the whole time......and have more seconds to formulate what you want to say when you need to type it all in!!

Their typing speed improves - but their spelling deteriorates!! They get used to shortening all words until they become unintelligible.....

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