Would you let an 8.5yo have their own email account? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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Learning at Home and Beyond > Would you let an 8.5yo have their own email account?
oceanbaby's Avatar oceanbaby 10:47 PM 11-07-2009
The main reason I want to let him have one is for his writing skills. Handwriting is very hard for him, but he constantly wants to write letters to friends and ends up asking me to do it. While I want to continue to work on his handwriting, I thought that letting him have his own email would enable him to work on his other writing skills. Also, he's in a phase of wanting to feel really independent, so I thought something like this might also help with that.

There are free sites, but the one I was thinking about was www.zoobuh.com. It's $30/yr, but I like the safety precautions.

katbomumof3's Avatar katbomumof3 10:52 PM 11-07-2009
DD1 has one. The only ppl she has as contacts are family- her cousin, aunt, and grandparents. She enjoys getting mail from them, and it gives grandparents a chance to send her things they think she would find cool, such as pics of bugs from her grandpa
Momma Aimee's Avatar Momma Aimee 12:38 AM 11-08-2009
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
I'm curious--what is it about an email account that shortens childhood?

I see email as just another mode of communication. At that age, I used snail mail and the phone. This generation has other options like email and texting. How does it take away from childhood?
I wrote snail mail letters too -- i have boxes of them saved.

but there is no danger to a child writting a letter, putting it in an envlope and mailing it to a buddy -- then getting a letter in retrun in the maiolbox.

the internet and coputers in all their glory -- i love mine, i am here -- have a alot of too it ---

type letters and mail them.

write letters

but the net is a dangerous place.

part of protecting childhood -- imho -- is protectiong them from tempation, and keep ing them chilren.

they do not cell phone, text messaging, and e-mail.

sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 03:32 AM 11-08-2009
Originally Posted by notjustmamie View Post
Well, my daughter has had "her own" account since she was about a year old, but she doesn't really use it yet. All the messages are forwarded to my account.

I think 8.5 is old enough to have an account of his own, especially if it has limited access and you're getting copies of any messages he sends and receives.
I got Lina's when she was like a week old. She doesn't get any mail at all there, though.
sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 03:38 AM 11-08-2009
And if you don't sign up for anything, you won't get anything. My gmail account is still spam free because for random stuff I use my yahoo account. Lina's gmail is empty except for the welcome message because it's never used.
sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 03:48 AM 11-08-2009
I don't get the argument about email making kids not be kids. My grandparents in law didn't get email until they were retired (my own grandparents never got email), my parents, in-laws, aunts, and uncles didn't get email until they were adults, I didn't get email until I was 12. Because the technology wasn't really there before that. I was 16 before my parents got a modem and I had email access at home, before that it was only at school and when I was 12 was the first year the school had the computers for people to have email addresses.

Kids aren't getting email at 6, 7, 8 these days because they're growing up too fast (as opposed to some of the clothing lines marketed for kids ) they're getting them because computers are so available now they can be put in the hands of kids without freaking out that they'll (the computers) get broken.

A hundred years ago no one would get a 5 year old a bicycle. Too expensive, not sized for them, and of course a 5 year old could never ever use something so complicated to coordinate.
SagMom's Avatar SagMom 09:45 AM 11-08-2009
Originally Posted by Momma Aimee View Post
but the net is a dangerous place.

Thanks for explaining.

I haven't found it to be dangerous--at least, not any more dangerous than any other part of their worlds. They've learned ways to be safe online just like they've learned to be safe using knives or crossing the street or climbing trees.

I guess it all depends on your view of the world.
dawningmama's Avatar dawningmama 10:39 AM 11-08-2009
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
Thanks for explaining.

I haven't found it to be dangerous--at least, not any more dangerous than any other part of their worlds. They've learned ways to be safe online just like they've learned to be safe using knives or crossing the street or climbing trees.

I guess it all depends on your view of the world.
ITA. My kids are 12, 9 & 7 and have all had email accounts since they were 4 or 5. The younger ones pretty much just talk to grandma and grandpa. All 3 use their accounts to forward me homeschool reports. My oldest uses his email to communicate with friends, family and his teachers (he attends and online school).
tofuscramble's Avatar tofuscramble 06:29 PM 11-08-2009
My 6 year old and 10 year old both have email accounts. My 10 year old has a Facebook account (actually it is really mine but he uses it). It has the highest level of security and he only has family and very close friends who mostly live abroad on it.

We also have Glubble for all of us, which is a family style message board and its private.

I don't worry so much about their privacy, we have our computers set up so that I can see exactly what my kids are doing at any given time. I love them having access to their friends and family online, it helps with their spelling, punctuation, grammar and sentence structure. Its also another good social outlet.

My 4 year old sometimes does puzzles online, he is a jigsaw puzzle wizard doing up to 100 piece puzzles (a skill developed primarily on the computer). My 6 year old is just starting to type more, so he is getting lots of spelling practice. They are all extremely computer savvy and my 10 year old has been programming for over a year.

Online access has been such a great educational/homeschooling tool for our family.
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 07:59 PM 11-08-2009
Originally Posted by Momma Aimee View Post
I am a firm believer in protecting childhood, and protecting children and keeping them children.... <snip>

IMO there is no one an 8 or 9 or 10 year old needs to e-mail.
You could just as easily say "there is no one an 8 or 9 or 10 year old needs to write letters to." Or "there is no reason why a child needs to play in sandboxes." And it would be true.

But good heavens, why not? What's the danger? Sandboxes are fun. Writing a letter or an e-mail to your cousins in England. How does this particular activity (e-mailing) cut childhood short?


(mom to a 11-year-old who is still very much enamoured of Playmobil and sandboxes despite having typed many e-mails over the years)
chfriend's Avatar chfriend 03:37 PM 11-09-2009
I've been thinking about this. Email has no more effect on the end of childhood than talking on the phone does.

It's no more the "net" than a phone line was before caller id.
accidental_hs'er's Avatar accidental_hs'er 03:56 PM 11-09-2009
Well, dd doesn't have one yet (age 4) but ds has had one for over a year (age 6). It is monitored and we started it because the boy hates writing but loves to type. The only way I could get him to practice writing/spelling was by sending messages back and forth. I set it up and added addresses to close friends and family. It is pretty cute actually. Last night I went in to check on things and he had sent his grandpa a message just saying "XOXOXOXO..." and grandpa wrote him a nice long email back. He doesn't use it very often but he seems more inclined to "gmail" people (that is what he thinks emailing is called) from time to time over writing them. I can get him to do more work for me that way too. We can be in different rooms and will message each other back and forth. I'll ask him questions and he responds. It has been a great tool for us.

Dh is a programmer and we are a very computer/tech/gadget oriented family. I'd happily wind up stranded on a desert island as long as I had my iphone kind of thing, lol! Ds will probably be getting his own computer in a year or two. He has a blog, piggy-backed on my own, and a user account through Vista. He knows we can and do monitor it. We have marked favourite sites for him and he can do his own research through kiddie search engines. I trust him and he gets more freedom. Dd will get an account when she can actually read but has a user account and can log on to Starfall or some other prek games/sites.

Computers are a part of our day to day life here. It would be hard for us to deny the kids access anyway when we can barely curb our own usage.
2xy's Avatar 2xy 04:17 PM 11-09-2009
My kids have had email for several years. They both play MMROPG's and other computer games. I don't think the Internet is any more dangerous than general life. Whether you're chatting with people online or IRL, it's people with poor judgement and lack of resources who are vulnerable. I trust my kids' judgement and there are always open lines of communication here.

As for kids not needing to email people, my boys' closest family member is an eleven-hour drive from here, and that's their dad. We're divorced and he's in the military. All of their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins live in other parts of the country, and they have friends that have either been left behind during our previous moves or who have moved away, themselves. Email and sites like Facebook have helped them continue those friendships and relationships with relatives who they barely get to see. Email is cheaper than talking on the phone, and chatrooms allow several people to be involved with the conversation at the same time.

When DS2 was 8, he had an email "pen-pal" from the island of Mauritius. That was an interesting experience, and I chatted with the boy's mother a few times, too.
Marimami's Avatar Marimami 04:34 PM 11-09-2009
I work in high-tech and I love my Macs, my iPhone, and Kindle, but I'm a Luddite when it comes to DD. She's never had an electronic toy, we are a TV-free family, and only once or twice did we let her use the computer for Starfall, and we regretted it immensely. So, I'd say I'm strongly in the camp of "we should avoid those things that detract from a non-commercial childhood".

Yet, even I see email as a tool for her, and it's something I have no problem with her doing with the computer. With our help, she sends us email and two my sisters (her favorite aunties). She's 5, but I hope to help empower her over the years to see the computer as a tool, just like I've helped her learn how to use potentially destructive arts/craft supplies appropriately.

2honeysmamma's Avatar 2honeysmamma 01:38 AM 11-11-2009
We set up an email (gmail) account for our dd (8) last year when we lived in India. It was a great tool for her to quickly communicate with family back here and now that we are home it has been wonderful for her to stay connected to friends from all over the world. We have full access to her account, and I peridodically check it (I don't read her email from her pals, but I do open and read anything even remotely unfamiliar)... Our rules are that she only opens mail from her friends and family and that the "spam" is for mom to get rid of (really no spam...except, briefly something in japanese that we blocked). Honestly, I think it comes down to your own child. I trust mine, I know her and I know that the rules we set up for using her email are respected. She is not allowed on the internet, unless I set her up on webkins or brainpop on occasion or we are doing research together. It doesn't make her any less of a child...she is still the sweet, imaginative, intelligent little girl we are raising. She is still most interested in art and reading and imaginative play of all sorts...having an email account hasn't changed any of that...she will ask to check her account once a week at most and often only 1 or 2 times a month. We are a very low media family and remain so...

mom to g(8) and o(5)
Needle in the Hay's Avatar Needle in the Hay 09:32 AM 11-11-2009
If my DS wanted an email account I would get him one. He knows I send emails but has not yet expressed interest in sending any himself. When he does, he can decide if he wants to use my email account or have his own.

One thing I would not do is read his private emails without his permission. I would want to keep an eye on the emails coming in (as in sender and subject line) but I wouldn't read emails his friend has sent him like some moms I know do.

eta. my son is 8
GinaRae's Avatar GinaRae 02:16 AM 11-12-2009
We have gmail for all of our kids (except the 2yo, obviously). I check regularly. They get no spam because their e-mails aren't published anywhere online to be "stolen". I figure e-mail's pretty normal for kids these days. My 8yo uses his to communicate with grandparents and send silly letters to me, etc. But it's rarely used.
justmandy's Avatar justmandy 06:22 PM 11-12-2009
I just signed up dd at 8.5. I was hesitant, we aren't ones to encourage growing up but she wanted to get updates from NASA about what was going on in space and I sure didn't want those emails in my inbox...and then her constantly using my inbox.

I think it all depends on the reason. Last year she asked for a FB account so she could be friends with the Jonas Brothers...uh, no.
LauraN's Avatar LauraN 12:37 AM 11-13-2009
I'm with Sagmom. My 7 yr old DS has an e-mail account, a blog and a facebook account. He loves playing Farmville and a few other fun gameson facebook. He knows not to friend anyone without talking with me about it first and so far his only friends are family and close friends. I have all the most secure privacy settings including the one where he doesn't show up in search.

Really the benefits outweigh the risks, for me. He is in touch with and playi g tames with people he rarely speaks to in real life including his cousins in France and my great aunt who is in her 80's.

The Internet is only dangerous if you don't take precautions. As is the world. I'd rather be candid with my children and teach them how to look out for themselves than live in fear.
zacharysmom's Avatar zacharysmom 12:47 AM 11-13-2009
we have allowed use from around 8 and i allow open access to the net BUT he knows i can ,do and will check history and the computer in in my room under supervision . the major house rule is when mom aske youto get up you do so with out closing anything and youknow what i have never found anything i object to, should that ever change im sure my rules and access will change.
ASKmom's Avatar ASKmom 01:24 AM 11-13-2009
It would definitely have to be a kids-safe account where I can control the addresses the child can send/receive messages to/from.

I agree with the previous post that kids are forced to grow up too fast these days, but I don't see why using email should necessarily be categorized as something that promotes the kind of unnatural and unhealthy loss of innocence that I think the previous poster is talking about. That said, I would not let my eight-year-old have a cell phone for that very reason. I think there's a difference between email and cell phones, however. At least with email, the child would be engaged in a writing activity. Also, with the proper measures in place, it seems much easier to monitor email usage (time spent, content, who my child is communicating with, etc.) than a cell phone.

Bottom line: I think email should be thought of as an age-appropriate activity. The appropriate age depends on the maturity level of the child. In any case, email usage needs to be carefully monitored to avoid whatever pitfalls come with it.
Theoretica's Avatar Theoretica 01:34 AM 11-13-2009
I'm not clear on how allowing an email account is any different from them receiving a phone call, as far as exposing them to technology and whatnot. There's loads of crud on TV that I'd NEVER want DD exposed to, but she's had an email account since she was 6 (she's 8.5 now) and interested in sending emails to grandma.

Now, we use Microsoft Outlook, and you can set it up so that she ONLY gets emails from people ALREADY on her address book. Anything else gets deleted without even reaching her inbox. We've never had a problem with it, and she LOVES sending emails to everyone in her family, and my in laws just melt when she sends them stuff too.

As a side note, her typing is REALLY good for an 8yo, she's pretty handy with it!

zinemama's Avatar zinemama 02:02 AM 11-13-2009
I would not allow my 8yo to have an email account (not that he's interested).

For one thing, he doesn't need it. For another, I have no desire to spend my time monitoring and/or supervising his email.

When he wants to talk to family, he calls them. He sees his friends at school. I don't see the point (except, as a pp mentioned, in the case of certain homeschooling projects - but that doesn't apply to us.)
terrabella's Avatar terrabella 03:52 AM 11-13-2009
Not privately, no. But yeah.

I hate these issues. I want to be so open minded, and we are very CL, but I'm just too overprotective about stuff like this.
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