This could be unnerving for parents of teens – finding their kids’ friends “hanging out” in the house virtually, via Webcam – but it looks as if ColumbiaJournalist.org found some parents who are handling it well. “Once dismissed as a potentially lewd distraction for the tech-savvy, video chatting has increasingly insinuated itself into American homes. While no firm numbers are available to document its rise, interviews with parents, children and college students suggest that as technological barriers have all but disappeared, the practice has become as easy as making a phone call and, for some, just as common.” The article leads with a mom who heard a tiny voice coming from the breakfast table ask, “Is that your mom?” and finding out her daughter who was eating breakfast in front of her laptop was actually having breakfast with her friend on screen – they were using their Webcams. You do know that many new computers come with built-in Webcams, right? Parents need to know that because there are also very negative, uses of Webcams by youth (see “Kids & Webcams: Disturbing story” and this about live Webcam chat site Stickam). But there are just as many great uses for Webcams. One college student told the reporter, for example, that all her friends videochat with their parents back home – who wouldn’t want to see their distant children when they’re talking with them?!