Good Digital Parenting
Dec. 17, 2015

Introduce Kids to Email Safety

Marketing Manager, KidsEmail.org


You've purchased your kids' first tablet for Christmas, and you need to set up an email account as part of the tablet setup.  Or, your child is begging you for an email account of their own.  Whatever the reason, is it the right time to open an account just for your child?

Before you open just any email account for your child,  there are a few things to consider before you tackle this new milestone.

-Is your child responsible enough to handle an email account?

-Will you, as the parent/guardian, be monitoring the email account?

-Are you willing to explain the dangers that come with a personal email account?

There's no right age when it comes to opening an email account for your child.  Knowing your child personally, you'll be able to identify when they are ready for the responsibility. Some parents decide to have a family email account first, and use it as a learning tool before opening an individual account for the child. No one know your situation or child better than yourself, so trust your instincts.

As the parent/guardian it's your right to have access to your child's email account. This is not an invasion of privacy, but rather a layer of safety. In some email accounts, you have the option to have every incoming and outgoing email sent to you first in a mail queue before your child sees it or sends it, giving you the ability to filter their account in a safe manner. Letting your child know you will see every email first will help them stay safer from unwanted contact with anyone you see unfit, and it will also help your child hold themselves accountable in the messages they send out. Do some research first and find out what email account is the best platform to meet your child's needs.       

Teaching your kids a few safety tips will help them stay safe from online predators and other dangers, like online bullying or spam.  

  • Never share your email password with anyone- even a best friend.
  • Be very selective in who has access to your email account.  
  • Does your child know how to clean out their spam folder?  And do they understand to avoid opening unfamiliar emails?  
  • Make sure your child understands how to forward emails using cc and bcc, and that sometimes forwarding an email is not appropriate, especially if it contains personal information about themselves or someone else.
  • If anything seems inappropriate in their email, make sure your child knows they can talk to you about it.  

An email account is a a rite of passage in your child's life. With a few easy steps, it can be a very positive experience for you and them both.