This is the start of a series of posts regarding children and tech. We live in a word where our children will know more about technology than their parents. Its pretty damn scary. Kids are looking for mobile phones before they hit double digits, joining social media long before its legal and communicating using mediums that parents just don’t understand. I think its every parents responsibility to educate themselves about how this “stuff” works and for those of us who deal with this on a daily basis we have to share what we know to help that process.
This is not a post telling you to do this. It is up to you how you choose to protect your children on the internet. It is your responsibility to educate yourself and the consequences of not doing so are so huge. That said this is the why we have chosen to setup email accounts for our two girl and how we’ve chosen to do it.
Why we have given our children email accounts
First of all our girls are smart enough to setup their own if they wanted to (and so are yours). So the choice was to wait until they did it themselves or to open them up with some level of control. I trust our children but I still understand they need protected. The question is how can I give them the freedom they need to develop their skills while at the same time protecting them . I believe if you are proactive from the start then you will have some level of control. Its the same with social media (which they are far from ready for) . The truth is email is an amazing way of keeping in contact with their friends and family and that is something I’m happy to encourage.
Setting up Gmail for Children
We’ve chose Gmail as that is what we know and use. There are many email providers specifically for children and Gmail is not one of them. They may be changing that in the future but as it stands it is not designed for this and you need to be 13 or over for a Gmail account. There are many negative points in doing it this way but knowing our daughters, how responsible they are and the extra measures we have put into place I’m happy with our solution.
Now I must stress that you are not allowed to setup a Gmail account for children under 13. The account is yours but you are allowing them to use it.
The starting point, for us, before looking at a computer was sitting down and explaining to our girls that email is a privilege. It is something that requires responsibility to use, has rules and if these rules are broken then the privilege will be taken away. This may sound unnecessary but for this system to work you do need a level of trust with your children.
- Password may never be changed without permission
- Settings may never be changed without permission
If either of these rules are broken then use of the email account is forfeit
Now I was about to make a video on exactly how I’ve setup this account but when searching I found this on the web. Its buy a guy called Ken Ramirez who runs a site called A Geeky Dad who has followed pretty much an identical process. Instead of replicating I think he needs credit for what getting there first so he’s a link to his post and his vid is below.
Now I have to state again these are the precautions we’ve chosen to take with our children. we know them and trust that they will stick to these rules. At anypoint we can check and if they have kept to the rules. You have to decide what is best for your family