Skype, MSN and Chat Rooms

Below are other ways of staying in touch using the internet—one uses voice and one uses writing. You will probably need to ask for help to download these programs. They can be hard to figure out but fun to use! Do not be afraid to try them. They can be good ways to help you stay in touch.

1) Skype

Skype is a program that allows you to talk to friends and family on your computer. It is easy to use. It is great for talking to people who live far away because it is free. There is no long-distance charge. You will need a microphone and speakers to do this. You may also want to have a video camera on your computer so you can see each other. You will need a pretty good internet connection for this to work.

You can download Skype and create a Skype address by searching “Download Skype” on Google. Ask someone to help you. The people you want to talk to must also have a Skype address. When you have downloaded Skype and set up an account you can search to see if your friends have Skype addresses.

2) MSN (also called “Windows Live Messenger”)

On MSN you can type short messages to friends. This is called “chatting.” This word might make you think that you will be talking, but in this case “chatting” means sending typed messages. If the friend that you send a message to is online at the same time, they can type a message back to you right away. This can be fun. MSN is not the same as a chat room. MSN is safer than a chat room.

To get MSN:

  • Ask for help if you need it. Getting MSN can be tricky if you are not used to using computers or the internet.

  • You need an email address to get MSN. It is easiest if this is with

  • You need to download it. You can do this by searching for Windows Live Messenger. Click on the one that says you can download it for free.

  • Once you have it downloaded, you can add friends. You need to know their email addresses to do this.

  • Other people can add you to MSN if they know your email address.

  • Get chatting!

Only add people to MSN who treat you with respect. If someone is being mean to you on MSN, you can block them from sending you messages. Ask someone to help you do this.

3) Chat Rooms

Some websites offer Chat Rooms. These are places where several people can have an on-line “conversation” all at once. They can be a way to meet new people through common interests. BUT be very careful if you use chat rooms. People could be lying about who they are. People sometimes use chat rooms to hurt other people. Do not give out any personal information. Do not give your full name or your address or your phone number. Ask someone you trust who understands the internet to help you know if the person you are chatting with is safe.

There are some online chat rooms that are safer. This is because they are checked often by responsible people. They watch to see that no one is lying about who they are. They try to stop people from taking advantage of others. One of these safe chat rooms for young people with physical or intellectual disabilities is called You can find information about it below.

Remember: No matter where you are on the internet, follow the guidelines for Internet Safety. These are given in the Safety section of the website.

Activity/Information Sheets

Ability Online
Ability Online (84.70KB, PDF)

This document tells you more about Ability Online. It is a safe chat room. You can meet new people. This document will help you get started.

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