E-mail for Kids

Posted on January 20th, by Cathy Olsen in Internet Safety, Popular, Social Media, Tutorial. 2 comments


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Email for kids

I have received this question multiple times regarding e-mail for kids.  Typically a friend or neighbor has needed to sign up their child for an e-mail account for a school project, to get their own iTunes account, or Textfree app.  No matter the reason, you should read through the following tips to keep the e-mail for kids safe and secure.

E-mail for kids – What is the best e-mail account?

There are many free e-mail accounts available, Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail and many more.  Which one would be good e-mail account for kids?  All of the free e-mails offer similar services.  You do need to realize that the data is not private.  These companies dig through the e-mail content to provide relevant ad-choices.  It's like getting someone to open, read, sort your mail and fill in a few promotional mailings while they are at it.  So, free e-mail accounts are great, but are not private.

There are some paid sites out there that promise to keep the information private and offer monitoring.  Such as KidsEmail.org.  This seemed like a free service at first glance.  However, I read through the various menus and it is $4 per month.  If you are very concerned about their privacy, this may be a good investment.

Email for kids – Username

When choosing a username, consider picking something that your child will like, but does not reveal personal information, such as their first name and last name.  As an adult it is very appropriate and more professional to have the FirstName.lastName@email.com naming convention.  However, there is no need to have this information within a kids e-mail address.  Again, you may want to help your child show restraint in choosing a completely inappropriate name.  ”Sluttyg1rl4″ would be an unfortunate e-mail handle to follow a child in college admissions or work interviews.

E-mail for kids – Ages

The typical age restriction for an online account is 13 years old.  If you feel your child is ready, you could get around this by changing the year of their birthday.  It's sometimes o.k. to not be SO honest with your online accounts.  (see below regarding your child's information).  You can open a Hotmail e-mail account with a parents permission.  Again, you as a parent should be able to know if your child is old enough.  It is better that you set up an account with them and give them some e-mail safety tools and lessons than your kids setting up their own e-mails without your knowledge.

E-mail for kids – Password

You need to set up a strong password for your kids e-mail account. You wouldn't want your kids e-mail account to get hacked .. Right? Click Here to find out more on how to create a strong password.

Teach your kids to change your password on at least every six months.

E-mail for kids – Information

You may want to consider entering a false birth date with the account.  While it's nice to get a free e-mail account, as I mentioned before, the providers mine the data from the e-mail account to present relevant advertisements.  A  full birth date is a very sensitive piece of personal information.  Click Here to learn more about Personal information.

Keep in mind, a birth date is typically used during the password recovery process.  Set up a different password recovery question and answer, or add a back-up e-mail account that could reset the password if forgotten.

E-mail for kids – Keep in Mind

You will need to set up guidelines for your kids regarding their e-mail account.  Tell them to be careful about giving out their e-mail address. They should not be signing up for promotions, sweepstakes and other gimmicks.

If they begin to get some junk mail, teach them how to detect a Phishing e-mail.  Click Here to learn more about detecting a Phishing E-mail.

With access to an e-mail account, your child will now be able to sign up for any social media account .. Facebook, instagram, SnapChat, etc. You need to reiterate your family guidelines and consider monitoring their account so they don't sign up for unapproved accounts.

E-mail for kids – Monitoring

Depending on the age of your child, you may want to monitor the account.  The easiest way would be to add the account to your mobile device.  You could occasionally check the traffic on their account.  If they happen to receive content that is SPAM or phishing, use it as a learning opportunity to teach them about safe e-mail use.  Also, watch for them e-mailing 'passwords' or other sensitive information.

E-mail for kids – In Conclusion

In the end, your kids are your kids and you need to consider all of the risks.  It is hard to let down the baby gates and let your kids start getting their feet wet in the Internet.  Just hold their hand, help them learn along their way.  If you don't, they will do it on their own and may hit some pit-falls or even drown.  So chin up! Just like our oceans which are so beautiful and amazing, the Internet is not going away!  Instead of avoiding the Internet, we need to teach our kids how to “surf” safely.

2 Responses to “E-mail for Kids”

  1. Suzanne says:

    Thanks for this information securemama! I need to double check my kids email profiles and make sure there is not too much information on their account!

  2. Cathy Olsen says:

    Glad you liked the post! Yes, it’s sometimes o.k. to lie on their e-mail profiles.

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