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When she says: "I'll email you"

Previously on urbanMamas, we've talked just a little about internet safety, our kids and mature media, or YouTube as a learning tool.  Not sure what came over us this weekend, but we went ahead and set up our 8-year old with her very own email account: first name [dot] last name [at] gmail [dot] com.  Not too creative, I know.  We let her know she can use the email for communicating with our extended family, who is scattered everywhere, geographically.  We know she has other friends who have had email for a little while, but we know that the majority of her peers don't have email accounts yet.  Our intent is for her to use it strictly for family, and she needs to ask us before getting onto the computer.  We also intend to check her email for her and keep track of her password.

I would love to hear other parents' thoughts about this: when would you/will you let your child have his/her own email account?  What would be some of the parameters you would set for usage?  Have you encountered this in your household yet?

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Our eight-year-old has had email for a couple of years now; it's on MSN, and it has parental controls, so we have to approve with a password anyone she sends email to or receives email from. We feel quite secure with that. I think all of her approved addresses are still family members.

I've set my kids (all 5 and under) up with email because every once in a while I'll email them something I want them to know when they are older, or something I want to remember about their childhood. The question will be, when do I let them actually use the email themselves!

Honestly, it would never occur to me to set my 8yo up with an email account. The only people he has occasion to write to are family members (thanks for the Legos, Grandpa) and I would prefer he become proficient in the art of the old-fashioned letter at this stage of things.

Both my kiddos, ages 1 and 4 have had email addresses since birth. However, they are on my computer, and I have the password, and so it shall remain for a good long time. We are a techie family so the grandparents send the kids email when the travel instead of postcards. I print them out and read them with the kids and then they (well only my oldest) dictate a response that I type for them to send back.

My 4 y/o dd can type her name, but sadly can not yet write it (eeks..bad guilty mama moment) We need to practice handwriting I guess :(

I set my soon to be seven year old up with an account this summer. I also set up an old desktop for her to use (and me when I need to use Microsoft products). She knows how to turn the computer on, check her email, send and look at websites we have bookmarked for her. I have all passwords and other information. So far she maybe looks at it monthly.

It is helping to keep her better connected to friends and family - we have family all over the world. She is also learning how to use a mouse and keyboard which they also teach at school. So far it is a good thing but I have seen it turn ugly for some families so I am prepared to pull the plug if needed.

I gave my four year old my old laptop last year. She doesn't have email yet, seeing as she can't read or write her messages without help, but I bookmarked a bunch of her favorite sites (pbskids, sprout, nickJr, scholastic, etc) and downloaded a free kids painting program. She plays educational games on the websites and paints occasionally, but mostly she types in the text edit program and pretends she is doing homework. As she gets older and can maneuver the internet on her own, I will probably replace the old laptop with a family desktop that I can set up parental controls on and monitor her usage, but for the moment, the internet to her is about as vast and harmful as a speak-and-spell.

My 10 year old daughter received an email from a boy at school, "(my daughter's first name, last name) I'll love ya til the day I die." To which my daughter replied, "don't bother." Needless to say my daughter got the "never email something you'll regret later" lecture.

I have an almost 4 y/o and a 6 y/o, and I do pretty much what e. does with her kiddo.

They don't email yet, but the each have a platform set up on my laptop. They click on their names and if they decide to use the internet, I have pre-set tabs on the toolbar for them (pbskids, star wars kids, sesame street workshop, etc.).

I was able to set the parental controls so that they can only go to approved sites, and also so they can only log-on to the computer itself during certain times.

About once a week, my computer will pop up a message to the effect of "Don't forget to check what websites your child has visited." Which I do, but it's boring, cause it's all the sites I bookmarked for them (natch), but I figure it's a good habit for me to get into now.

As far as email--my older son is a fairly proficient writer. As soon as he asks for his own email account, I will set him up with one. I figure we can email each other, and he can email his grandparents and uncles (as far as I know, none of his friends have email yet). He loves to write, and any practice he can get has got to be good, right?

We have our own domain name so I set both kids up with email addresses there. Seeing as they are 1yo and 3yo they aren't checking it now. They both think my mouse with the red light on the bottom is the coolest phone. It's handy for me when I want to send an email from a website and need to test it out -- I can just send it to one of the kids. I have no idea how we are going to handle things someday when they really want email. I think we'll worry about conquering not eating crayons first. But the addresses are set up and ready when they are.

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