As a military family, we've rarely had the opportunity for my children to live near their grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins. Instead of catching up with each other at a restaurant after church on Sundays, we rely on phone calls. We spend many holidays carefully coordinating the timing for Skype sessions so that we can accommodate meal plans amongst several different time zones. It's no surprise that my kids have grown up emailing and texting extended family members, even at a young age.
I was excited to get an Annual Subscription to KidsEmail.org for Lauren to use. The subscription could have been used with up to six children, but Addison and Brennan already have their own email accounts and no longer need my supervision.
It was quite easy to set-up Lauren's new email account. I just had to submit a registration for myself so that I'd have a parent account and then I could add child accounts under mine.
From my parent account, I have all sorts of features available to control Lauren's email experience. I was particularly impressed with the safety features.
I was primarily interested in the ability to limit the emails Lauren received. Since she can only receive emails from people I've put on her contact list, she will not receive any spam emails. (Many years ago, we learned how difficult it was for a child to discriminate between real and spam emails. When Lauren was a baby, she took Sildenafil for pulmonary hypertension and we often joked about how Sildenafil is more commonly known as Viagra. Addison had a brand-new email account at that time and saved several emails that advertised Viagra because she thought they were actually important information about Lauren's medicine.)
Right now, I have Lauren's security settings set so that I receive copies of both incoming and outgoing mail. I don't necessarily read all of those emails, but I like being able to glance over them to see what she's doing online. For instance, I was able to spot an email from a company where Lauren had entered her full name and address in an attempt to order something (which failed due to lack of payment). I was then able to remind Lauren of our internet safety rules which don't allow her to share that information without talking to a parent first.
KidsEmail.org offers other options to customize the program including different screen designs, a more grown-up interface (and a kmail.org address) for teens, time restrictions, etc. It has all the must-have features I'd want for a supervised email account to use for a child and a lot of nice-to-have features as well.
Lauren enjoyed using KidsEmail.org, especially since it has an iPad app that made it easy for her to access her email while other people were working on the computers. Unfortunately, it's hard to get her to change her ways. She's been using a spare email account of mine to text relatives from our iPad for a few years, and she generally kept on texting instead of sending/receiving emails. If we had started using KidsEmail.org several years ago, I think she'd email more and text less.
A subscription to KidsEmail.org costs $4.95 per month or $38.95 per year ($2.99 per month). They offer free 30 day trial with no credit card required.
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