why won't ichat connect?

this is for my mom. she has a new mac (got it for christmas, see) and was trying out ichat. she couldn't add a buddy. in fact, she pretty much can't do anything on it. so I did some research and I found that she wasn't online somehow. apparently it's supposed to do that on it's own (correct me if I'm wrong) but it doesn't. she's using bonjour, if that helps. and no mac vs. pc comment wars, please.