Thursday, July 19, 2012

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Kids and E-mail - Is YOUR Child Ready for it?


Though this topic may more fit it to parenting topics, I still want to discuss it here in Bloggers Tech since more and more kids are getting into technology and using it.

My niece AJ (10 years old – I think) and Kyle (she’s 7 I guess – gosh) is growing up and want to socialize and be on the latest trend online, like joining Facebook and Twitter. Their parents (their father is my brother) don’t really want them to be into these websites because they’re worried if they get addicted to much with these social media websites especially websites like Facebook that has games.

Obviously, when you want to join these social media websites you need a valid e-mail to be able to join. This is actually one of my concerns for my niece when they came up to me and ask if I could make them an account.

As an internet user, we all know what we can get from the internet. That is the good and bad side of it, and I’m worried if my two nieces will be able to be more exposed to things that they shouldn’t be shown to (you know what I mean – that rated PG stuff).

We all know as a free e-mail user like Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail we are not 100% safe from scams and advertisements. These kids would also fill up any form and would click on anything that there might be curious of. We all know that sometimes we get RATED PG stuff on our spam box and I can’t or I don’t know how to answer them if they ask “WHAT’S (BEEP)?”…

I did create them a free e-mail on Gmail which I have personally experienced that they have less spammy and rated PG mails on your inbox. But I made a deal with these kids that I am allowed and will know what their password is on their e-mail, so that I could check every now and then and of course guide them through.

Today, I would like to share with everyone some important factors we must all consider when kids ask for their own e-mail and they are:

THE AGE

Obviously, a 2 years old baby wont’ be able to really access its e-mail and children at around 5 years old usually are curious and some are hardheaded at this age that they don’t follow what you’ve said (this is basing on my observation).

I think it was when my niece AJ turned 8 when I made and email for her, and she’s a great kid. She’s patient, polite and she have so many questions and willing to follow your instructions. We must consider this for some kids love to break rules, to discover and experience it themselves and we never know what they will be able to access online.

Way back years ago, when I was working as an internet café maintenance for my brother’s café I was shocked when this 5 or was he 6 years old boy who just sat down on the computer, open the browser and visit this porn site. I told him “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” and all he said to me innocently “I JUST WANT TO SHOW MY FRIENDS THIS VIDEO I SAW IN THIS WEBSITE WHERE THE GIRL EATS THE POOP ON THE BUTT…”

I felt responsible for these kids or to whoever uses the computer at the café, so I made him understand that it is not good to watch. I offered them to stop using the computer and get their money back or they may continue using the computer but they must not watch videos like these. Obviously, the kid doesn’t understand why I’m trying to stop him this what he so called “FUNNY VIDEO”, it was disgusting yes but of course from the start of the video and till the end there’s this rated PG scenes. Good thing, he just used his remaining minutes to play a game.

I can’t tell any age bracket but obviously, a three year’s old little boy won’t understand why you’re trying to stop him use or visit a website like what I’ve mentioned above. The 5 years old may understand but it’s up to how the kid was brought up and his characteristics if he will really obey to whatever what is told to him by someone who’s older to him.

INTENSION FOR THE E-MAIL

There are many reasons a child may have when she wants her own e-mail account. Some probably because her classmates have one, or just like my niece who wants to join other sites that needs a valid e-mail.

There are several things they can do with their e-mail and as we teach them not to lie they may end up giving away their identity or any information about your child and your family that may risk your home. There are also a lot of internet predators who are using chartrooms and social media websites in hunting for their next victim, so better make sure that they’re using the e-mail or any online account in a good way and/or in a way to communicate to people that they know and not with the total stranger.

If ever you have allowed your children to create and use an e-mail and have any online accounts like Facebook, make sure that you’ll remind them not to get in touch or easily trust someone online. Though of course some internet predators will pretend they’re nice and would say or do anything to please and make your children trust them, you must still remind them that not to totally trust someone just because they sound like one.

THE FREE E-MAIL ACCOUNTS

I’ve personally tried Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail. Among these three I find Gmail the less spammy and more user friendly. I won’t going to suggest Yahoo Mail especially for children because there are lots of spam e-mails there and most of them are adult themed e-mails.

SETTING UP THE E-MAIL

It’s ideal that someone will guide and help the child in creating their own e-mail. In this way they could learn how to do simple things like this and of course will have a little introduction about it.

I’ve also done this with my niece, they’re the ones who typed everything or even decide what their password is. Letting them know that they should never giveaway their password to anyone else that is not a part of the family. But as their ONLINE GUARDIAN I need to know what the password is so that I could check and make sure there’s nothing fishy going on.

We all know that there are pros and cons on letting a child its own e-mail or online account. In this way the kid won’t be ignorant with the internet, the e-mail and how things work online. But then of course they’re more prawn to be exposed on things they shouldn’t be and may have an easy access on things they shouldn’t see.

But then of course, you as a parent know your own child if they’re ready to have their e-mail and/or online accounts on other websites. Trust your judgments as a parent who wishes to protect its child from any danger that the internet may cause.

As for me, since I was little I’m very curious with the computer and then the internet and would love to spend hours in a day just to browse stuff online. Good thing back then all I want to find out and read is about Britney Spears (yeap! I’m a Britney fan since I’m 12) and wasn’t really interested with other stuff at all.

But with this curiosity and interest it led me to a career online. I’m a blogger, a SEO expert and of course I finished my degree that most of my friends prefer to call “GEEK” course. I’m enjoying what I am doing and at the same time making money from it. 

This is the same to your child, maybe your child will be one of the famous online entrepreneur or blogger one day. There’s no age limit here or no qualification needed to be famous, whatever they do and whatever they good at they can be famous, earn money and start a living at the very young age. 

But I still suggest as a parent or guardian please do guide them and don’t let them be all alone in the virtual world.

NEXT ON BLOGGERS TECH...


In connection to this topic, I'm trying to get to know and test this website that offers e-mail for kids. Pretty cool huh? I'll be posting it next here on the blog and sharing my review and probably a short interview with someone from the website. 

You might want to check it out too, it's called KIDS EMAIL and so far they're pretty good. I totally suggest you check this out especially if you're an aunt like me or a parent.



About the Author


Gay Aida Dumaguing

is a 27 years old Filipina from the Cebu, Philippines. A graduate of B.S. Information Technology from a well-known University, now a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Expert who serves businesses, entrepreneurs and bloggers from around the globe. She's also the blogger of Exotic Philippines, a blog that promotes the Philippine tourism.


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