Most Internet parental control products offer some tools for managing Instant Messaging. But like e-mail, only some Internet parental control products offer comprehensive tools. Like e-mail, you’ll need to check the “Internet Parental Controls Product Comparison” chart and the “IM Product Comparison” chart below to make sure the product you want blocks the most common forms of IM, such as AOL and Yahoo. If you want detailed transcripts of IM chats, a filtering product won’t do – you’ll need monitoring software. There is really no reason to buy a stand-alone IM parental control product unless IM is the only program you want to manage. Most of the products in the chart offer the ability to either block or monitor IM programs.
Ages up to 7: IM is generally not appropriate for children in this age group.
Ages 8 to 10: IM is generally not appropriate for children in this age group.
Ages 11 to 13: Contact management with monitoring.
Ages 14 to 17: Monitoring as appropriate.