Sometimes, when parental fogyism gets the better of us, we just have to ask why. Why, for example, would you want to encourage a child to learn text messaging before they need to? Won't they be retreating to their secluded corners with device in hand soon enough?
Mattel apparently wants to accelerate adolescent isolation by introducing the $65 "IM-Me," kind of a training-wheels version of a texting phone or SMS device that we spotted on Gadgets Weblog. About the only good thing we can see is that it doesn't require a two-year contract, working instead only within the range of an accompanying USB dongle that connects to a parent's computer (presumably so you can monitor what the kids are doing).
We have another idea. If you want kids to experiment with short-range communication projects, how about trying two cups and some string?