27 answers

What age is appropriate for your kid to have his own email account

My son is 8 in 2nd grade. He wants his own email account. He wants to be able to email his grandparents and us (his mom & dad). He's very responsible and we have all kinds of filters on his internet useage, he has his own login, and we as have the computer in the family room. He doesn't go to new sites without asking first. He likes to IM one grandparent and does occassionally using mom or dad's IM account, but wants to be able to do it from his own login. On one hand I think why not, on the other I think he doesn't need it. I think if I give in, it won't be a big deal - it'll lose its novelty fast. But I also don't have any really compelling reasons to him why he can't other than I don't think he's old enough. Looking for other parental feedback. Is there good kid email service - not AOL, Hotmail etc?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?


Different parents have different opinions and preferences, look at the article for more ideas.

Featured Answers

My nine-year-old has a gmail account that she only accesses with her dad. It's a great middle ground and she barely uses it!

If he wants to email his grandparents and you -- how cute! -- give him the email. I can't think of anything dangerous that can happen with an email -- it's just a new form of letter-writing.

Hey! i have an idea...have him sit down with pen and paper a write a real letter. Grandma and Grandpa would really appreciate it. What happened to pen pals? =)

More Answers

I have taught instructional technology and am a fan of digital media as a learning tool as children mature. I am a mom first and think that giving him this access is borrowing trouble that he is not ready for and it is a akin to sending him into the city alone even if he knows the rules and promises to stay out of harm's way, he is a little boy.
The fact that you are asking is huge
I think supervised time with you is fine but not his own access. Too dangerous.
Also, I think you might want to check out Kim Commando. She has a radio show and website. She is a tech guru and also shares what she limits with her 8 year old due to the dangers.There are serious dangers out there.

Internet use can become an avoidant behavior. Avoid people, peers, work, interacting..because there is so much. Not a great habit to develop young.

One positive use of technology is using it together and constructing his own media. Give him a camera and a video recorder. Let him tell stories. Reports. Digitize. Edit. He is still on the computer but driving his own ideas and very on purpose. He will learn editing skills, organization and can research topics. Supervised.

Remember, these kids are learning more tech than we ever did and they are missing out on a lot of nature and problem solving time. He is also learning cursive right now correct? So much debate around handwriting verses keyboards. Letters to family is a great chance to practice writing..cool paper and pens...include photos he prints from his digital camera, drawings. practice true writing skills.

His window of childhood is rapidly closing..of course for a wonderful life ahead but I encourage all parents to keep it as long as they can. I have a child who is 6.5 who has learning disabilities and is super bright and has been assessed for assistive technology.
We both agreed that giving him time to use other tools is ideal before keyboard. He hops on my computer when I am in the room and is using the finger pad, asking for mazes and puzzles, games but I am with him. I limit it to 20 minutes a couple times a month but will let him use with me more as he ages. I hope this one opinion helps

1 mom found this helpful


Our kids cousins all live out of the country. This topic recently came up for us. We found pikluk and absolutely love it. No one can send them an email that is not in the address book. It has it's own browser too. They can only go to sites you program.
Good luck!

You can always set up a POP account / forward all emails to your account so you can see who and what your child is emailing. IM accounts, you can archive conversations to also see who and what your child is doing. For posting photos, Shutterfly.com is nice because you can password protect your photos.

Definitely there need to be parameters set up regarding internet usage - contact with unknown persons, giving out personal information, posting photos, etc.

I didn't get a chance to read all the replies - sorry if this is a repeat.
My kids have "their" account - so that they can get mail that is especially for them. However, they log on with the help of Mom and Dad. When old enough, I plan to let them log in on their own, in a common area of the house, but I plan to access the account, or check as they do it, regularly. That way, they get their independence, but I keep my responsibility of "keeping them safe". My son just turned 6, but my husband and I have already started discussing the dangers of the internet. He has already learned about "stranger danger" both at home and in preschool. Now he's in elementary school, with kids who have phones and text messaging already - it's never too early to start teaching them responsibility. My daughter is 4, so we haven't gotten to the internet part with her yet.

My cousin was the same age when she wanted an e-mail account. what my aunt and uncle did was set up a family account that they all could use. My cousin uses it the most but my aunt also uses it to send pictures, cards and e-vites.

I personally think that he is too young. My oldest daughter is 12 and does not have her own email account. Our old youth pastor said that one thing he recommends is to have a family email. That way you are setting the example of having no secrets and you are not hiding anything. It gives your kids a huge sense of trust to know that their parents are not hiding anything from them when it comes to the computer. Of course if you use your email for a lot of work stuff, that would be differant. Just last week my 12 year old had to send her classmate an email for a class project, that was her first time. My middle daughter is almost 9 in third grade and has not even given it a thought. In my opinion our kids are growing up too fast and doing way too many adult things. Just my opinion.

In a loving, supervised environment I think that would be fine. You just have to stay on top of it (making sure he isn't going out to sites he shouldn't be or doing anything you would not approve of) Email to grandparents is very sweet and cool for him at this age. I would just be careful of staying on top of it. Thats my opinion.

the only thing that worries me is all of the unsolicited advertising that comes to e-mail accounts - junk male and sex site stuff. It's disgusting! So, I think I might be okay with it but I would go to his e-mail each day and delete all the unwanted garbage and give him a list of those e-mails that he may open such as the ones from grandparents. Let him know, that he is not to open any e-mails from anyone other than what is on your list. A lot of times people send viruses through e-mails, so you need to be sure he's not opening an e-mail that might crash your system. You will be able to check his sent mail and his trash bin so you'll know who's he's communicating with. I think as long as you stay on top of it, it should be okay but it will require a time investment on your part.

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