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Is Your Child Ready for His or Her Own Email Account?

Are you a parent? If you are, your child may be using the internet, if they aren’t already doing so.  While most children start out just using the internet for school research projects, there comes a point in time when most children want to start socializing with their friends online. When this point in time comes, your child may ask to have their own email address, but are they ready?

When it comes to determining if your child is ready for their own email address, you have the final say, as the parent.  With that said, there are a number of important factors that you will first want to take into consideration.  A few of these factors are highlighted below.

Your child’s age should be taken into consideration, when trying to decide if you should give them their own email account.  When your child has their own email account, you need to set rules.  If a stranger happens to get their email address and emails them, do you trust your child to ignore the message?  Will they abide by your rules to do so?  If you do not think so, maybe your child should just share an email address with you for now.

What your child intends to use their own email address for is also important.  If your child is using online chat rooms, they may want to have an email address to give out to those who they meet online.  As nice as this sounds, it is important to remember that some internet predators target chat rooms looking for children.  That is why caution is advised.  Make sure that your child only intends to use their email account to communicate with those that they know, like relatives or friends at school.

If you pay for internet, you likely get free email accounts from your internet service provider.  AOL, NetZero, and Verizon are just a few of the many internet service providers that handout free email addresses.  It may be best to give your child one of these email addresses, as opposed to other free ones, like Hotmail or Yahoo.  Why?  Because you will typically find that email addresses provided by internet service providers get less junk mail.  This reduces the chances of your child getting scamming emails or adult themed emails.

Also, if you do decide to let your child have their own email address, you will want to help them set it up.  What many parents do not realize is just how revealing an email address can be.  For starters, make sure that your child chooses an email address that does not include their full name.  Next, you may be required to fill out a profile.  There are many free email programs, like Hotmail and Yahoo, that ask you to do so.  Some of this information, like your child’s name may be published.  So use your best judgment or create a nickname for your child to use instead.

As you can see, there are both a number of pros and cons to giving your child their own email address, especially if they are still relatively young in age.  If you do make the decision, however, there are some steps that you will want to take to protect your child.  Also, just make sure that you use your best judgment.