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Email addresses for children

Melissa has asked how old a child should be before s/he gets his/her own email address.  The responses relate more to safety of the children and parental supervision rather than any particular age.

1    Don’t know about a view as I never actually thought about the whys or why nots! But my son does have a email address! He got an email address at age four to allow him to write to his grandparents by typing on random keys before he would form letters himself and to introduce him to the concept of email for communication. Now that he is learning to write he prefers writing letters and cards to people and receiving them in the mail and we haven’t checked his email for months. Obviously at this age all access to email is under supervision so bullying etc issues are irrelevant and only I know what his email address is and how to access it.

2    My theory on anything like this has always been not until they ask and therefore are showing an interest for a start. Then I would be asking why they need their own e-mail address and not just the family one and hear what their reasons are. I assume privacy would be the main reason but again I would be asking why it was needed. What did they anticipate they would be getting through that they did not want others to be able to read.

 If I was wavering and thinking maybe  they could have their own email address then I would be having a big talk about the safety issues of giving your email address to people and the chat room issues – older men making out they are 16 etc and I would be putting some pretty heavy rules around the whole issue. eg I would want to be able to go into the computer room at anytime they are in there and see who they are emailing perhaps. Not reading the messages as such but knowing who the people are they are emailing and how they know that person.