Mattel IM-Me: Safer Mobile Instant Messaging for Kids

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Mattel wants parents to believe that its IM-Me mobile device will prevent bad people from IMing their children. It's comprised of two separate parts, a USB dongle with an attached RF antenna and the SideKick-like unit that kids use to communicate with their friends. Parents install the USB dongle into their computer through which kids then connect to the Internet. Kids will then be able to IM friends on their contacts list (presumably moderated by parents) so long as they're within range of the RF antenna.

And that's its failing point. Sure, you can prevent your children from talking to strangers online while they're inside the house using the IM-Me, but what about when they're not home? And what kind of kid would agree to use this device when they can just hop onto a computer when mommy and daddy aren't home? Seems to me that the best way to prevent your kids from getting into trouble online is to talk to them rather than clamping down on them. It's $65 cheaper than the IM-Me and you don't have to wait until the summer to start.

It's Like a Walkie-Talkie, Only You Type Into It [Wired Gadget Lab]