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Children and email - how to best approach this?

I read a blog posting somewhere some time ago (I can't find it at the moment...) which talked about this and made some interesting points (which I had not considered myself or did not think important and don't quite understand even now)

  • make them understand that the email is monitored and can be accessed by the parents without their knowledge
  • do not allow them to have an email address with their name

Which points come to your mind? At what age would it be appropriate to allow them to have their own email address? What about instant messaging?

asked 01 Mar '10, 06:07

brandstaetter's gravatar image

accept rate: 24%

+1 Good question. (our daughter has her own mail address, she just doesn't know it at the moment :) Close friends and family have sent her emails and messages, so she will see that when she is older.

(03 Mar '10, 16:29) Emi

Well, heck, there's a new one I have to think about for the little kids.

With my older boys, it just sort of happened organically. They weren't interested in having their own e-mail addresses until they were issued ones at school in about 4th grade. Most of the stuff they wanted at home they just asked me to use my e-mail for. After they started using instant messaging I made it clear that everything was being logged and that I'd check them every once in a while. (And yes, I passworded the files, I trust my kids, but I don't think they're stupid, and it is a lot easier to erase than explain.)

There were rules about asking me not to read a certain days logs, I'd trust them if they asked me not to if, nobody was in danger, and there was nothing sexual involved. I'd leave it be if it was just "private", something they or their friend just didn't want their Mom to know they were discussing, and I made it crystal clear that there would be very serious consequences for violating that trust (like, no more IMing at all, and I don't care how much you whine).
I also had to personally know everybody on their lists until they hit high school. (After they started high school, I just couldn't keep up with all the new friends they made anymore.)

But, their Nanna didn't have e-mail when the boys were small and now she does, and she spends a lot more time travelling now then she did then, so, I might have to figure something out for the littles a lot sooner than 4th grade.


answered 01 Mar '10, 07:13

Neen's gravatar image

accept rate: 30%


I should probably add that I stopped logging their IM's years ago. They're older now, and I know that 95% of what teenage proto-men say is posturing, and honestly, I just don't want to wade through it. If something "bad" is going on, 9 times out of 10 they'll tell me themselves if they need help with it. And the other time, their brother will rat them out. (Eventually, I end up knowing everything, the younger one is chatty! He even rats on himself, you might have to wait a few months, but he always does it.)

(01 Mar '10, 08:22) Neen

@Neen: True about the posturing ;)

(01 Mar '10, 09:41) Scott ♦♦
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Asked: 01 Mar '10, 06:07

Seen: 2,215 times

Last updated: 01 Mar '10, 07:13