This new literacy develops skills that may well be important to the labor market but are currently viewed with suspicion in the media and by educationalists.
Merchant also says "Younger people tend to be more adaptable than other sectors of society and, in general, quicker to adapt to new technology.
The first transatlantic Internet chat took place between Oulu, Finland and Corvallis, Oregon in February 1989.
created by Compu Serve executive Alexander "Sandy" Trevor in Columbus, Ohio.
Many are styled like forums or bulletin boards where people post comments and then come back later to see if anyone has responded.