As a parent, you should ensure your child’s online safety with just as much scrutiny and priority as their offline safety. In today’s world, having an email account is necessary from a young age. But you should be careful about opening your child’s first email address.
The legal age requirement for children to open their first email address is 13. You can also open email accounts for children under 13 by setting up a family account or adding supervision to it. The appropriate age for a child to get an email account also depends on their understanding of safety, needs, and your ability to supervise appropriately.
So, how do you set up your child’s first email address? Before setting up your kid’s email address, are there any safety and privacy concerns that you should know before setting up your kid’s email address? Let’s discuss.
What Is an Appropriate Age for A Child to Get an Email Account?
The age restriction most email service providers put is 13 years. However, it is common for children under 13 to have a personal email account as some school activities require it. Most email providers put special regulations for users under the age of 13. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) prohibits online service providers from collecting information on users under 13 without consent.
But other than legal requirements, you should also consider other factors that are individual to your child. You need to set rules regarding using emails to keep your child safe from online predators and scammers. If your child receives an email from a stranger, will they ignore the message or respond to it? Will they stick to the safety measures you set up for them? Do they have sufficient knowledge about email spam and phishing attacks?
Another important consideration is what they will be using the email account for. Are they informed about online safety? Will they prevent sharing their email address with strangers? You need to make sure your child only uses their email account to connect with friends from school and family members.
Best Email Providers for Kids
The email provider you choose for your child plays a vital role in your child’s safety online. For example, some free email service providers can send junk and promotional email to your child’s account. Additionally, if the email service provider does not have a robust spam filter in place, it risks your kid’s online safety.
Here are the four best email providers for kids –
Gmail (Family Link)
Even though some people don’t consider Gmail safe enough for personal usage, let alone for kids, it’s still one of the major email service providers globally. You may find that your child needs a Google account specifically for school. The good news is, Google has added new features to prioritize email security for children with Google Family Link. You can manage your child’s Gmail account and other online activities for free.
Some special features of Gmail account managed by Family Link are –
- No advertising or promotional emails for kids under 13
- All spam emails identified by Gmail will be automatically deleted
- Kids can only read, send, and search their email
KidsEmail offers safe email options for families with different price tiers. It allows parents to set up a blacklist and whitelist to control who can send emails to their children. It also offers sophisticated filters and parental controls using which parents can set time limits, block a specific type of attachments, or set parents blind carbon copies.
Another significant feature of KidsEmail is, it lets you differentiate between child and teen accounts to apply separate parental controls. It also enables you to review filtered out emails that go into an email queue. KidsEmail’s available packages start from $4.95/month for up to 4 email accounts. They also have cheaper annual rates of $2.99/month for up to 6 email accounts.
ZillaMail is a web-based email option for kids over the age of 6. It allows parents to set up “Buddy Lists” to control who can connect with their child. ZillaMail enables parents to set up filters to block specific words and phrases. It also includes profanity filters and built-in spam filters that block emails from unknown senders. Another helpful feature of ZillaMail is its text-to-speech option for younger children.
ZillaMail has a kid-friendly interface that lets the children customize the theme. It has additional features to teach children about internet safety. ZillaMail has both free and paid versions, with the paid version starting from $1.99/month or $14.99/year.
TocoMail offers the most straightforward email format for kids as young as five years old. It has safety features for parents, such as managing contact lists, filtering unauthorized emails, and filtering out profanity. The app also sends push notifications to parents’ iPhones/iPad when a kid receives an email. TocoMail has both simplified and standard versions for younger children and teens.
TocoMail offers exclusive and enjoyable features for children, including customizable avatars, interactive “Drawing board” where they can use postcards, stamps, pens, brushes, and other instruments to draw attachments. Additionally, kids can send text and multimedia messages to each other and broadcast messages to the whole family.
Another crucial step to ensure your child’s online safety is to limit their email address visibility on the web. Spammers and scammers scour through the internet for already exposed email addresses to send spam emails or organize phishing scams. If your child’s email address is revealed on the web, it puts them at unnecessary risk.
Go to Sniff Email to check your kid’s first email address visibility on the web. Sniff Email is an online platform dedicated to finding out if an email address exists on the internet. Enter your child’s first email address in the search field and click fetch to find out if it exists on the web within a few seconds. Based on the results, you can take appropriate action to remove it or open a new account for your child.