We were admitted into the KidsEmail.org site in order to use and evaluate for the purpose of review. My middle boys are 8 and 9 years old, and have been bugging anyone who would listen to send them an email! They are ecstatic to have their own accounts, but as a parent I’m understandably hesitant to give them free reign with just any account. Yahoo or Google? No way, no how, not even close -so don’t ask!! Just the spam count alone is enough to get them grounded.
I’m kidding, of course, but really: we can’t be too careful with our children’s safety online, but in this day they will need to learn how to operate an email program even by high school. Do you know that most places, even convenience stores and table wating jobs, take applications online these days? And your response must be sent by, you’ve got it, an email account. So, by the time kids are about 16 years old, they need to be internet-savvy enough to have and operate their own emails if they plan on working even part-time to pay for things like gas, snacks, and movies.
What’s a parent to do?
Find a safe email program that you can monitor while you teach them! KidsEmail.org does just that! Signing up is easy, and there’s a free trial so you can make sure it’s all that you expect it to be. You can add each of your children individually; they will each have their own account and their own email address. You can even modify the settings for each child to be a little different, though since mine are so close in age I have their settings exactly alike and there’s a check-box to set all the kids the same as well. I like easy, and that was my easy button!!
Some of the settings available to parents.
There are many different setting choices to make, and I really liked the fact that there were defaults already set as suggestions for what might be the safer options. I left most of those the same, but changed a few of them. For instance, since we needed as many emails as we could get in order to do an accurate review, I turned off the setting that required a person to be in their contacts before they could receive an email from them, but I turned on the setting requiring that any email from a person NOT in their contacts be sent to me first for approval. I love this setting! There’s also a setting that sends me every single email they get or send out; if they are sending or receiving from someone in their contacts list then I dont’ have to approve it, but I can still read it. I like this option because it gives me the ability to know what my kids are doing and being exposed to without having to feel like I’m the nosey parent and signing into their accounts without them present. They are aware that I see every email in or out, and even have gone to asking me if they have any emails to bother checking it… again. For the third time. Today.
I was a bit surprised at the results of some of the settings, though happily so! One of my sons was emailing my brother, who is only 15 years old, as well as my mother. My mother clued him in that my brother’s email address was an older one and suggested that he use the new one instead; only, since I had disabled HTML links, the email didn’t show up! Not only was it not linked, but it wasn’t even visible as text. I liked this, even though I trust my mother to the end of the earth, because there’s no telling what accidental fwd links might be present from time to time, but also because my kids are internet-savvy enough to know how to copy and past a URL into the browser. I love this one!
One of our church friends sent an e-card. This email didn’t even show up in his inbox, and was not sent to my email either. The KidsEmail.org program had it marked as spam; of course, ecard applications are usually based on a specific website and the email generates from that domain. I appreciate this so much! It was easy to find in my parent log-in page. I perused the email, which referred the recipient to click the link, which of course was not even visible. I went to the website on my own, clicked to retrieve an ecard, entered the code, and allowed my child to see the ecard after I accessed it. He was delighted!! (And then, I allowed the email to be sent to him, after telling him that he wouldn’t be able to get to it that way. He got a kick just out of getting something in his inbox, looked at it, knew he’d already seen the ecard, and deleted it. He’ll thank our friend next church meeting!)
Parent sign-in page; start here to create an account, add child accounts, or access settings.
After I’ve approved an email to go through to my child’s account, that email address is automatically added to their contact list, which means I don’t have to approve every single email my kids get from their grandmommy. That saves me time again! If I ever have a concern or don’t want someone in their contacts, I can always go in and edit them out myself; but, I remembered after realizing that, that I will still get each and every email through to my own email account.
After more than a week’s use of this program, my kids insisting on checking their emails multiple times daily and making sure that they are getting plenty of emails from family and friends, I am confident that this will be a loved program in our home! I feel comfortable letting my kids navigate their accounts on this site, and in the meantime we’re learning proper letter technique and internet etiquette. School? Nah… at least, the kids don’t recognize it as school; they’re just having fun sending messages, and haven’t even realized yet that it’s educational both for academics and for social and economic skills. And that is exactly what our homeschool needs!
*Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary access to KidsEmail.org for the purpose of facilitating my review. No monetary compensation was given. All opinions expressed herein are unbiased and not influenced by the developing company or its affiliates in any way.*