What is Skype?
Skype is a program that allows users to make video and voice calls over the Internet using webcams. Other features include instant messaging, SMS text messaging and file transfers. Skype is easily downloaded from their website and each individual may create their own user name. This service is free when calling other Skype users. Individuals may also place calls to landlines and cell phones for a per minute fee or a monthly fee. Founded in 2003, Skype is currently responsible for 8% of the worlds international calling minutes and is continuously growing.1 According to their website, in the first half of 2010 Skype users made 88.4 billion minutes of Skype-to-Skype calls, and approximately 40% of these were video calls. 2
Skype was founded in 2003 by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. eBay Inc. bought the company in 2005 and then in 2009, a group of Silver Lake investors bought 65% of the company. Due to a lawsuit from the original owners, in which it was discovered that their company had always retained ownership of the peer-to-peer technology of Skype, the ownership was reorganized. Currently, Silver Lake owns 56%, the original founders own 14% and eBay Inc. owns the remaining 30%. Skype’s headquarters are located in Luxembourg, with several other offices located elsewhere around the world.3
Concerns For Parents
• Be aware of how much private information is given when registering. If your child gives all the private information asked, but not necessary to give, it allows online predators to easily track down your child.
How Can I Keep My Child Safe?
• Regulate who your child adds to their contact list. Know who your child is talking to and make sure both you and your child know those people personally.
• Help your child fill out the registration information. If you are present while this is being done, you can make sure only the necessary information is given and not any excess information that could be used against your child later.
• Talk to your child about file transfers. Make sure they only accept files that contain information they have been previously informed about. By accepting files they know nothing about, they could be accidentally downloading harmful viruses.
Where Can I Learn More?
If you want to download skype, check out this wiki How To.