He’s 8 and wants his own Email and Facebook! 1


Your son just walked in the door after school, threw his book bag on the counter, grabbed a snack, and informed you that he wants his own email and Facebook accounts.  He’s only 8 years old, talk about a shock to your family dynamics.  You have to tell him something, so you tell him that you will think about it.  Then you scramble to do some research to see how best to handle this situation.

James Emery

Basically you find out that there is no hard and fast rules that states a child has to be X years old before they can have an email account.  Each parent has to decide this for themselves.  Do you feel that your child is mature enough to have his own email account.  Can he be responsible, and follow the rules you set down for the account?  Also, take into consideration if your child really needs an email account at age 8, if the answer is yes, then follow these basic steps.

It is best to set up an account on your own computer using Eudora or Outlook so that the child’s email will come right into your computer.  That way you can oversee the account and delete any spam or inappropriate emails.  Since he is only 8, and has limited reading skills, he will need adult supervision for some time with his email account.

You could also sign your child up for an email account through kidsemail.org.  Try it for Free for 30 days!  Kids Email is designed specifically with your child in mind. You control the account when you choose the settings.  Here are some of the settings available for the Kids Email accounts:

1)      Receive email only from the contact list that the parent sets up and controls.
2)      Parent is CC’d on every incoming or outgoing email.
3)      Remove images from incoming emails.
4)      Removes links.
5)      Allow only certain types of attachments
6)      Filters out bad words.
7)      Have spam  automatically filtered and removed.

When your child receives an email from someone on their contact list, the Kids Email software will take the email, censor any bad words, remove any images, and scan it for viruses all based on the parent’s settings.  The parent is automatically sent a copy of each email the child receives or sends so that they are aware of the correspondence.  When your child receives the email, they receive it in a safe environment without any ads, bad words or viruses.

If somebody tries to send an email to your child that is not on their accepted contact list, the email is not sent to the child and is only sent to the parent by Kids Email.  Then the parent reviews the email and decides whether to accept the email or deny the email in the Kids Email Mail queue.  If the parent accepts the email that person can be added to the child’s contact list or simply reject the email and not allow it to be sent to their child.  For more information about Kids Email accounts please visit our About Kids Email page and don’t forget to watch the video.

Next you should give the email address to his grandparents and a few of the aunts and uncles so that your child has some email coming in so that you can guide him in the process of how an email account works.  Explain what spam email is and that he should only give the email address to his very close friends.  Make sure that you stress that he should let you know immediately if he ever receives an email that makes him uncomfortable.

Now, you have to let him down very gently when you explain to him that he cannot have a Facebook account until he turns 13 years old.  It is out of your hands, because Facebook Terms of Service, Section 4, Registration and Account Security, Item 5 States, “You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.”

Parents, keep in mind that Facebook has to follow Federal Laws and has designed the site for use by teens and adults. If your child is 13 years old and wants a Facebook account they are free to sign up.  To safeguard your child’s privacy and safety on Facebook, please visit the following websites listed below.

http://www.facebook.com/safety/tools/

http://www.connectsafely.org/pdfs/fbparents.pdf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=JUV5Kev1ke4

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