New Lines of Communication

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January 19, 2011

Whether you are a parent with children away at college, a non-custodial parent whose child is away, or you, yourself are somebody’s child, you know how tough it is to keep communication lines open between you and your love ones. To combat these communication concerns I have turned to the benefits of technology.

Tools such as email and chat can provide quick and easy ways to stay in touch with those we love, especially with our children who seemingly know all about this stuff and think it is cool. Most of us have used email but few of us have used chat programs. Chat programs provide instant written communication between users.

Setting up a Chat program on your computer is simple. On Windows, AOL has a great chat tool called AOL Instant Messenger. It is a free download ( and accounts are free, too. If you have a Mac, Apple’s iChat program works with A.I.M users. After the software is installed, open the application and you will be asked to login. If you already have an AOL screen name, use that. If you don’t, then you must create one. You may sign in and add your friends’ screen names (called buddies) to your buddy list. If your buddy is logged on to his or her computer, he or she will show up in your buddy list as being online. If a buddy is online, simply click on his or her name and start typing. You will both be glad you did.