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Is IM Okay For Tweens?

Honestly, I wrestled with this question for several months before I let my daughter use it. She was 11 at the time and I honestly didn't get the point. My thought was if you want to talk to your friend call them on the phone. A few of her friends were using it and they said it was fun but I wasn't convinced. I had been warned by a mother to stay away from it as long as possible her daughter had a very bad experience with it. Someone was saying terrible things about her daughter and caused her terrible stress. I have heard this from a few other mothers as well. The problem is that kids feel like they can say anything they want through IM. It's easy when you aren't speaking to anyone face to face. They may even be kidding but you really can't tell unless you hear someones voice or they come out and say it was a joke. Bottom line you can't take back what you type and send. I really want to protect my daughters from everything but in this case it was easily figured out. I allowed her to join with the knowledge that I would keep an eye on what was going on and if anyone said anything inappropriate to her to tell me immediately. She agreed and to be honest now that she can use it she really doesn't use it all that much. So my advice for anyone who is wrestling with this as well is just like anything else if you keep an eye on what they're doing and saying on the IM it's fine. Otherwise things can get out of hand. My daughter has heard from a few friends that girls who they thought were their friends suddenly started to say very cruel things to them on the IM. It's just better safe than sorry.

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