Wow have I been struggling with this one.
My 10 yr old has been asking for an email account since school let out. Apparently a lot of her friends at school have them. She won't be returning to that school so they gave her their email addresses to stay in touch. Great idea, right?
Except - my daughter is 10! I'm thinking that's young to have her own email. Google agrees - their standard policy is no accounts to anyone under 13. (Perhaps this will change over time.) So, I decided to find out how all these kids had their own email.
To put it bluntly, they lied. Now, I should say that they didn't go and create accounts without anyone knowing and then use them to send out millions of spam messages. Their parents approved (and probably set up the accounts) and then I think are monitoring their email somehow. I'm not sure why Google doesn't allow parents to create "junior" email accounts that are connected to their own accounts.
I'm leaning towards this whole "lying" idea and creating an account for her. I trust her and am mostly worried about her receiving spam and/or unwanted email.
Ideas to make this safe:
1. Set up a filter so everything that goes into her inbox also goes into mine.
2. Have her password and use it to check her email occasionally.
3. Read her email before she is allowed to login.
4. Assume she is trustworthy and do nothing.
5. Use a different email provider.
I'd be curious to hear what you think and/or what you have done about email for kids. Thoughts?
I'll be sure to post an update when I decide what to do about her email requests. Right now she just uses my email and I move her messages into a folder with her name on it. But, I don't really like her being able to read my email if I'm not paying close attention, you know?
Update 8/2012: She's now 10 3/4 yrs old. She's been using my email for for the last 2 months. I decided to get her her own address. Now I just have to tell her about it. Thanks for all the great advice!