24 answers

Email Address for 8 Year Old

My mother has told me that one of her husband's grandsons would like to be an email penpal to my 8 year old daughter. She has suggested to me that my daughter is old enough to have her own email address. I had never even considered getting her a separate email address of her own. My husband and I are having a hard time deciding on this. I was wondering at what age do other mothers get email addresses for their kids. Please let me know your opinions.

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It feels to me like people are confusing e-mail with general internet access. Setting up an e-mail account can be done with controls that prevent spam. My daughter (also 8) got an e-mail account with a control that only allows in pre-approved addresses, so someone has to ask me if they can e-mail her and then she and that person, a friend who moved and her aunt are the biggies, can e-mail. She knows I regularly read her e-mail. It's under my account and I control the access.

General access to the internet is a completely different animal.

I've actually been wresting with this myself! My daughter is 11 and has been emailing her cousin using my account. And sometimes it's hard keeping it all seperate. Anyhow... at this point I've decided to keep her on mine until she's a little older and just have her cousin put her name in the subject line! This way I can keep a better eye on what is going on! Great Question! Blessings! K. W.

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Dear F.,
Having read quite a few of the responses you received, I'll try to keep mine brief. #1, only you can decide what's best for your daugther. #2, no matter how great your kids are & no matter how much you trust them, NEVER trust them completely! I say this as a mom who learned the hard way. Even if you have great communication & you think that you are your child's best friend, you'll never know everything. However, you can (and should) have the final say on EVERYTHING ~ that would include 'net access, e-mail correspondence, phone calls, friends, etc.! The more you know about who your kids friends are, the more you'll know about them. Remember, the older kids get, the better they become at knowing (& telling) you what you want to hear. If they know a certain response will appease you, assume that you'll get the answer you want, regardless of whether or not that's how they "really" feel.
I hope this helps! I'll be praying for you as you make this important decision! May God bless you for your diligence in trying to make wise & informed choices for your children! :)

We set up an email address for our daughter when she was 8 years old. We used yahoo.com, and there are a lot of controls that you can put into place, including who they receive email from. She only emails a couple of her friends and her grandparents. Our computer is in the living room, and she has restrictions as to how often she uses it. She is now 10, and she is very responsible with the computer.

I don't think, at 8, there's any reason that she can't send and receive emails from your account. That way you can keep an eye on what's going on. Just give them your address.

Hi F.,

I didn't have this problem when my son was that age but I think the principles of good parenting apply, figure out what your fears are and ask yourself questions. Think about these questions. Is your daughter responsible for her age? Is the grandson about your daughters age? Do you know him? If so and she wants to write to him, ok, if he is a lot older, I would be cautious but not rule out the benefits of "family" getting to know each other. Suggest that they write to each other using the 'family' email for a while, possibly plan on giving your daughter the gift of email for her birthday or some special occasion when she has earned the privledge. If (when) you do get her her own email address, make sure she knows (at least in the begining) that you need to supervise when she is opening her mail. Teach her to not give out her email without you approval. Make it so you can check it, no password needed or or a parental overide. That will give you openings to talk about what to do if she gets a bad email (show it to you and you as her mom will take care of it by reporting it). Let her know that as her mom it is your job to protect her so you will spotcheck the emails when you allow her to start checking it on her own.

I know this got long but protecting our kids is s important and I praise you for doing that for your daughter.

It is hard to say. The internet is still a place where there is no true control. I don;t see why the child still can't use your email account for another year or two. My kids are allowed to play on the computer, but only at the webkinz web site. And we have controls there in place. Also there are nanny software that you can get for the computer, if that would make you feel a little more safer. There are many differnt programs out there. And there are a lot of controls on the computer that many people are not aware of of.

If you do let your daughter have an email address, then make sure that she understands that she dosen't just give it out to anyone. And that it is her email address, but there might be a time that you or your husband might want to check it, just to make sure that everything is safe. Just remeber that there are people out there that act like little kids to.

Hi F.,

I have an 8 year old too. She had a good friend she met in Pre-k, but lives in the next town. My daughter doesn't have her own email and has never asked for one. But when I suggest writing her friend, we do it together on the computer and send an email to her Mom. I usually type for the girl's name in the subject line, and knowing them, she probably reads the email with her daughter. The key is to supervise. We have fun with this, but she has no need to have an individual address. She likes when I'm there to share the stories with me. It's a nice bonding time:)

K.

In my personal opinion I would not let an eight year old have their own email. My eleven year old daughter has one, but I am like an eagle eye checking over it as the computer can lead to very bad things these days. You really have to watch. I have two nine year old twins and I will not allow them to have their own and I feel when you are not looking they can get sneaky with the computer and be sometimes enticed by things they shoudn't get into. I would wait awhile with you eight year old.
D. B

F.,

My kids are 9 and 13. My 9 yr old does not have an e-mail address yet; he has not asked for one, so it has not been an issue. My 13 yr old has had one for years. It is a slippery slope. I would hold off as long as you can. The penpal idea is great, but I would use your e-mail address. Even once you let your child have an e-mail address, I would monitor closely. You have a while 'til you're faced with other Internet issues, but we do not let our 13 yr old have Facebook or other accounts. She wants one very badly, but we will not allow it. Most of her friends do, but I don't see that as a reason to allow it...especially when I go on and see what's out there. I know parents who allow Facebook but monitor diligently what their children and their children's friends are doing on Facebook. Also, there is a lot of cyberbullying that goes on with Facebook, IMs, etc. We know of too many stories. I also do not let my daughter have an IM account. She wants one of those badly, too.

Good luck!

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