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.

More Answers

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!

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.

i have an 8yo id say no to that use mine!!!

Hi F., This is one of those gray area's. If you have good parental controls on your computer (Yahoo has great ones!) you can let her have her own email address. With the parental controls you can set it so that she only get's email from email addresses you approve. I did let my daughters have email addresses with that control in place at the age of 8. They were approved to send/recieve email from their grandparents, aunts & uncles and a few friends that live out of state. We do have a contract with our girls about computer use as well. I have & still do check their email at random, the computer is in the main living area of our home so that I can peer over their shoulder at any given point and time, and we have our computer set so that we can view any and all actions they do (just in case they do try to hide anything from us). Our girls have been very good with the rules and the parental controls so far. The one thing that has been driving me crazy though is that the schools (and teachers) assume that all the children have internet access anymore. They give assignments and tell the kids to "go on-line" and find certian information...which can lead to some really wild things if you are not right next to your child helping them with key words for searches! Best wishes.

You never stated wheter or not your daughter has asked for her own e-mail. If she is not bugging, I would just tell the grandsons that they can e-mail her through your address, and you will see that she reads them. If they put your daughter's name in the subject line, there should be no problem with that. If she is bugging, I say set one up, you keep the pass word and check your computer's history after she has been on. Also keep in mind you can set your Yahoo instant messenger to log all conversations, you can go later and peek at what they talk about in IMs if you are worried about sneaky behavior. It is scary times these days. best of luck to you

I suggest using kol. It's kid's aol and is absolutely free. This will protect against pornographic and non-child friendly e-mails arriving in their inbox. www.kol.com

My email (earthlink) has a way you can set up additional "dummy" emails. They are really meant for spam, but that might be a middleground. The nice thing about them is they are pretty random (random characters in the address) so there isn't much chance of someone guessing it. That way she could have her "own" email, but it would be under your account and you could keep an eye on it. The other choice would be to set one up under yahoo and just make sure you check it frequently.

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 have signed my 8 year old daughter up for a free yahoo account for this same reason. In today's world, typing, checking email and other computer skills will be as common (and needed) as doing the dishes and checking the mailbox when we were kids. I feel, the earlier our kids are exposed to the computer and the responsibility (and dangers) of using one, the better off they will be. I know the password so I monitor the messages to and from column to make sure I recognize who she is talking to and I limit the amount of time she spends on it, same as I limit her TV time. She loves it!

Our son is 10 and has his own address (just recently got it). He also wants to be pen pals with someone. We have his password so we can keep an eye on what he's doing. And he has to check with us before he gets on to check his e-mail. I think as long as you keep an eye on it and teach them proper "internet ettiquette" you'll be fine.

My 15 and 13 yr olds JUST got their own e-mail accounts this last month. I would wait until I'm sure my child is aware of the realities of online predators and understands the risks -- knows how to be somewhat confidential about who they are

No Way!! I definately think that is far too young for that type of "independence". There are too many crazy online predators out there that innocent children get sucked in by. There is no reason why she can't use your email to write emails with you to this friend. I find it so scary the resources that are available to kids these days and the awful stories you hear about what they've stumbled upon. If you and your husband are that unsure...than you already have your answer. Never do something that doesn't feel right when it comes to your kids. Grandmothers don't get to make those decisions:) So stick to your guns. Just my opinion:)

When 2 of my daughter's best friends moved away (from Pennsylvania to Florida and Kansas) 1 1/2 years ago, we signed my then 7 year old daughter up for her own email address.

However, here are the stipulations we used...
*It is actually in my name.
*She is only allowed to email people who I know and have approved of.
*She is not the keeper of her password, I am. If she doesn't like that, she doesn't need to have email at all.
*She does not log on to her email without me right there.
*When she wants to email her friend, she types of the email message in Word, Wordpad or Notepad. Then together, we copy and paste the message into the email program online (we used AOL's AIM).

Basically, I treat it as a privilege that is not granted complete privacy. She should only send or receive in a message information that she is not afraid to have me read. She is not allowed to chat and is not allowed to surf the web randomly. We have a list of sites she is allowed to visit and a list of people who she is allowed to email.

It is not that I do not trust my daughter, and I have explained this to her. I do NOT trust some of the predators out there on the web. I do not want her opened up to these people. I want her to be a safe and happy CHILD for as long as possible not sullied by the sick fantasies of some of the people who use the web to prey on others. Don't get me wrong, I love the internet. I think it is really useful and can be a wonderful way to communicate. I just also recognize that it can be used to do irreparable harm to others as well.

Anyhow, that is how we handled it. Before she had her email address, she would sometimes get an email message from her aunt (who lives several states away). We just asked her aunt to send it to my email address with the subject that stated it was for my daughter. You could do that as well and skip the email address part for now.

Whatever you do, please stress to your daughter the dangers of speaking with strangers online even if you decide to forbid her from emailing people she doesn't know. She needs to know that there are valid reasons for the limitations you place on her. She needs to know that there is a real danger out there and that these rules are there to protect her from it.

Anyhow, I hope this helps. Best of luck with your decision.

at 12 years old

Updated

at 12 years old

My 8 year old has her own email address, but we have the password. The only way she gets on is if we log her on and check to see who has sent her mail and delete or block what she shouldn't have recieved. we don't read her mail from cousins, friends, or family members that we recognize, but everything else gets looked at.

Also, when we signed her up, I used her middle name and a nickname instead of first and last name, and her email has no identifiers - no real name, no date of birth, no city or school info.

Good luck, this is a great way for them to practice typing, reading, and writing.

We got a yahoo account for my daughter when she was six. Her best friend moved, and they email each other. I'm always with her when she is on the computer (she's seven now), and we've talked a lot about internet safety. It's also been great for her to work on writing letters, grammar, etc!

My oldest got an e-mail address about 6 months ago...just before he turned 12. I think when they hit adolescence, they do need some independence from you. However, I have his password and check his e-mail probably more frequently than he does. Also, my husband has it set up so that my son's e-mails are also automatically forwarded to his blackberry so he's checking for content as well. Our son likes being able to get e-mails from lego, nintendo and some gaming sites, but he KNOWS if anything inappropriate would ever come in from his friends or anywhere else, his address would be shut-down in a heartbeat. I think 8 is too young. I have a 9 year old who corresponds with a few out-of-town friends via e-mail and I sit with her and she uses my address to do so.

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