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Good Email For Kids?

ScuttleMonkey posted about 6 years ago | from the think-of-the-children dept.

489

mgessner writes "My kids are starting to want email accounts of their own. Even though gmail does a pretty good job of filtering spam, it's not perfect. Searching the web the other day for kid-safe email, I found a few sites that say they can do the job. What do others do for their kids' email? Pay for it? Just use a free service like gmail or yahoo? I don't pay for email accounts out of my own pocket, so I don't really see the need, but if the cost was a few bucks a month, I'd do it."

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What the problem with Gmail? (4, Insightful)

stefankoegl (687410) | about 6 years ago | (#25168599)

You probably won't find a service with better spam filtering than Gmail, so what's the problem with it?

Re:What the problem with Gmail? (5, Funny)

Eg0Death (1282452) | about 6 years ago | (#25168645)

The OP probably wants to prevent his kids from viewing the contents of the Spam folder. I know I'm not ready to explain to my 5 year old what a message about "H0t Yung $luts ReadY 2 Suk C0K" is really all about.

Re:What the problem with Gmail? (5, Insightful)

fluch (126140) | about 6 years ago | (#25168813)

Then don't let them have an e-mail account. There is no perfect spam filter ... except you filter it by your own. Another question, why does an 5 year old need to have an own e-mail account by itself??

Re:What the problem with Gmail? (5, Informative)

orclevegam (940336) | about 6 years ago | (#25168987)

The solution is whitelisting. Give them an e-mail account with G-Mail, then proxy it through a local mail handler that you have a whitelisting filter configured on. Any address not on the white list gets deleted. Problem solved.

Re:What the problem with Gmail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25168885)

The OP probably wants to prevent his kids from viewing the contents of the Spam folder.

So set Gmail to delete spam immediately instead of storing it.

The more important question is, why does your kid need an email account at all?

Re:What the problem with Gmail? (5, Funny)

geoffspear (692508) | about 6 years ago | (#25169145)

Duh, so his friends can contact him when his cellphone is off.

Re:What the problem with Gmail? (2, Interesting)

jank1887 (815982) | about 6 years ago | (#25169231)

my 7 year old's best friend just moved to N.C. we let them chat on the phone a few times, and they've sent a few emails back and forth via parents' email accounts. My daughter asked the other day why she can't have her own email to write from instead of having to use mine. I said she wasn't old enough. The spam folder thing has been the main reason. I've had quite a few get through gmails filters and land in my inbox.

Re:What the problem with Gmail? (3, Insightful)

ypctx (1324269) | about 6 years ago | (#25168699)

Exactly.. Plus I'd probably set an incoming rule for the kids' account to auto-delete the spam as it comes in.

Re:What the problem with Gmail? (1)

iworm (132527) | about 6 years ago | (#25168879)

And with Gmail, much as I love it, there's no feasible way to auto-delete spam. I've asked for the very same feature myself, but Gmail confirm that (currently) you cannot auto-delete spam.

Re:What the problem with Gmail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25169007)

Yes, it is possible. Just set a filter for "is:spam" (without the quotes) in the "Has the words" field and set it to delete.

Re:What the problem with Gmail? (1)

mcnicks (1002538) | about 6 years ago | (#25169067)

I am not sure about this, but you should be able to create a filter that matches "in:spam" in the "has the words" field and set it to delete emails that match. I use a similar rule to mark all of my spam as read, so that I don't get an annoying bold counter showing me how much spam I have.

Re:What the problem with Gmail? (0, Redundant)

ypctx (1324269) | about 6 years ago | (#25169123)

Didn't know that. Anyway - I'm using filters to mark the spam as read, so that the right-side "Spam" menuitem doesn't bother me by being marked as "unread items".
However, have you tried:
1. new filter
2. Has the words: is:spam
3. press Next, ignore the warning
4. click "Delete it", click finish
That should work I guess..

Re:What the problem with Gmail? (0, Redundant)

frenchbedroom (936100) | about 6 years ago | (#25169201)

Settings > Filters > Create a new filter > Has the words : "in:spam" > Next step > OK to the warning > Check "Delete it" > Create filter.

Boom baby, spam-free GMail.

It's the Ads! (1)

teko_teko (653164) | about 6 years ago | (#25169009)

Just this morning I check my Gmail inbox. I received an email from a friend who just moved to a new office room.

Email subject: here are the pics!
Email body: It's still messy, I know :p
Attachment: P1010510.zip (zip file containing pictures of the new office room)

And on the side, I can see a few weird google adsense, a couple of them are:

Girls In Underwear Pics
Find Fresh Girls' Underwear Info. Fast'n Easy.
-someunderwearwebsite

Meet Vampire Males
Meet Local Vampire Males Near You. View Profiles 100% Free. Join Now!
-somegothwebsite

Re:It's the Ads! (4, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#25169205)

Girls In Underwear Pics
Find Fresh Girls' Underwear Info. Fast'n Easy.
-someunderwearwebsite

Meet Vampire Males
Meet Local Vampire Males Near You. View Profiles 100% Free. Join Now!
-somegothwebsite

Those ads have a lot more to do with what Google knows about you than what your friend sent...

But thanks for sharing!

Re:What the problem with Gmail? (1)

vvaduva (859950) | about 6 years ago | (#25169185)

I imagine one great addition to GMail would be a way to allow send/receive based on a whitelist approved by a parent. It would be perfect for a situation like the one mgessner presented. Heck, for all I know it may already be possible to do that...I am not a GMail expert.

Is it ok to keep kids off the internet these days? (1, Interesting)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 6 years ago | (#25168611)

I'm not a parent, but if I was, I'd have an age when they could get on the Internet. The internet is not a safe place for young kids in my opinion.

Re:Is it ok to keep kids off the internet these da (4, Insightful)

Ngarrang (1023425) | about 6 years ago | (#25168691)

I'm not a parent, but if I was, I'd have an age when they could get on the Internet. The internet is not a safe place for young kids in my opinion.

As a parent, I am already planning what to do when this situation comes to light. My answer: moderate their internet usage. That's right. Me or the wife will be watching what sites they visit. I will set up a laptop just for them, with their kid games and such.

It will mean a lot of work, but it will avoid more problems than it causes. And as a bonus, it is spending time with the kids.

Re:Is it ok to keep kids off the internet these da (4, Informative)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 6 years ago | (#25168839)

I'd also suggest putting a computer as your gateway with Dan's Guardian [dansguardian.org] on it. It's certainly not perfect, but it's the best filter I've ever seen, and allows for different filtering levels through user names. It runs on a linux box, so you can combine it with iptables to disallow a lot of other things like p2p as well. I'd highly recommend it as a good tool to make sure that your internet connection gets used on your terms whether you've got kids or not.

Re:Is it ok to keep kids off the internet these da (3, Funny)

devaudio (596215) | about 6 years ago | (#25169243)

I must second parent post. I used Dans Guardian and 3 VLANS (kids, parents, outside) at my home, and their internet access level defined by their login. It all started when my 8 year old googled for "butts"

Re:Is it ok to keep kids off the internet these da (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25169109)

I'm not a parent, but if I was, I'd have an age when they could get on the Internet. The internet is not a safe place for young kids in my opinion.

As a parent, I am already planning what to do when this situation comes to light. My answer: moderate their internet usage. That's right. Me or the wife will be watching what sites they visit. I will set up a laptop just for them, with their kid games and such.

It will mean a lot of work, but it will avoid more problems than it causes. And as a bonus, it is spending time with the kids.

This is exactly what needs to happen.

The Internet is no more kid-safe than the rest of the world is. When you give a kid unfettered access to the Internet you're giving them access to the absolute worst kinds of hate, propaganda, and pornography you can imagine. And regardless of what kind of filtering you set up, eventually something will show up that you wish they hadn't seen.

If you think your kid is ready to handle pretty much anything the world can throw at them, go ahead and turn them loose on the Internet.

If not... If you're thinking about filtering solutions, you need to be there watching your kids. Filtering won't cut it. Something will make it through. And you need to be there to explain what is going on, why, and how best to respond to it.

Plus, you can teach them good computing habits at the same time, so they don't wind up clicking on something or opening an email that they shouldn't.

Parents these days seem far too eager to automate the process of raising a child. Folks want parental controls on their TV, filters on their Internet, and only kid-friendly video games being sold. They don't want to think, don't want to put any effort into it. That doesn't work.

Parents need to be actively involved in raising their kids.

Re:Is it ok to keep kids off the internet these da (2, Insightful)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | about 6 years ago | (#25168693)

Would you rather have your kid to another kids house and get on when no parents are online?

Would you rather have your kid sneak on when you're not around?

I say, force the kid to go online (assuming the kid is reluctant, which I doubt), and make sure you are always with them when they are surfing. I'd rather be there when the kid stumbles upon a bad site, than have them find it when I'm not around, or being told ignorantly what it is by the other kids with them (before, during, or after the visit).

Re:Is it ok to keep kids off the internet these da (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | about 6 years ago | (#25168865)

Would you rather have your kid to another kids house and get on when no parents are online? Would you rather have your kid sneak on when you're not around?

heh, that reminds me of some parents' attitude towards their children smoking weed/drinking. not that i disagree with either, it's just amusing that this sort of harm-reduction philosophy makes perfect sense when you apply it to other risky behaviors but parents still have such a hard time grasping it in regards to drug use.

Re:Is it ok to keep kids off the internet these da (1)

mweather (1089505) | about 6 years ago | (#25169175)

It's not really the same. Letting your kid smoke pot at home is more akin to letting them download porn, but monitoring what porn they download.

Re:Is it ok to keep kids off the internet these da (-1, Flamebait)

Huntr (951770) | about 6 years ago | (#25168723)

I'm not a parent...

... but let me go ahead and give you parenting advice.

Re:Is it ok to keep kids off the internet these da (3, Insightful)

MagdJTK (1275470) | about 6 years ago | (#25169135)

I'm not a parent...

... but let me go ahead and give you parenting advice.

Yeah, because it takes a parent to have good ideas about how to look after kids! It's not like anyone can have children without having to prove their competence as a parent.

I would have thought that /. of all places would be free of this kind of bizarre logic.

Re:Is it ok to keep kids off the internet these da (3, Insightful)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 6 years ago | (#25169189)

Just because you have never personally experienced something, you can't have any knowledge of it? I guess all those male gynecologists should get new jobs then...

Re:Is it ok to keep kids off the internet these da (1)

Eg0Death (1282452) | about 6 years ago | (#25168873)

http://www.glubble.com/ [glubble.com]

This essentially creates a whitelist for the Internet.

Sigh... (5, Insightful)

Inf0phreak (627499) | about 6 years ago | (#25168641)

You can't kid-proof your email. You can only hope to email-proof your kids.

That should be a fairly simple conclusion from the fact that (almost) anyone anywhere in the world can send email to any email address.

Re:Sigh... (1)

RingDev (879105) | about 6 years ago | (#25168837)

Ehh, you can white-list their email accounts so that only friends and family can get through to them. Easy enough to do through Hotmail, I would assume that gMail has similar functionality.

-Rick

Re:Sigh... (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 6 years ago | (#25168883)

No, you can't kid-proof your email, but you can make it better than the default at least. A determined kid will be able to get around anything you put in place, what the poster is trying to do is make sure that their child has to seek it out instead of getting it through normal behavior. Just because it's not 100% effective doesn't mean it shouldn't be used.

Re:Sigh... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25168983)

This is very much true.

I have two kids, one an adult and the other still a teen. I have never tried to filter the internet for either of them, other than restricting hours so they can get some sleep. Why? Because I don't buy into the pablum argument. You can't change the world, so you must instead raise people who are capable of handling the world, without wearing rose-colored blinders.

As an aside, but kind of related, my kids chastised me once for telling them there was a Santa Claus when there really wasn't. They taught me something about honesty. When they questioned if there is a "god" or "gods", I told them the truth as I know it, that being religions are multiple, mutually exclusive, and typically invented by ancient peoples who thought the Earth was flat. There is no evidence for the existence of a supreme being, one who wears a long flowing beard, one who makes unreasonable demands, nor one who commands stupid fools to ram airplanes into buildings, thus murdering lots of innocent people.

Be honest with your kids, first and foremost. Let them discover the world, but give them a framework to live by.

Just do what your parents did.. (5, Insightful)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | about 6 years ago | (#25168647)

You turned out OK, didn't you?

People anymore are so paranoid about everything anymore, it is a wonder society can even function. If you are THAT worried about it, then DON'T get them an email address.

Re:Just do what your parents did.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25168729)

You people anymore!

Re:Just do what your parents did.. (1)

Abreu (173023) | about 6 years ago | (#25168763)

Yes, but every parent wants their kids to turn out BETTER.

Of course, this often results in bumbling parents making roughly the same amount of mistakes their parents made, only different.

Re:Just do what your parents did.. (4, Insightful)

Paralizer (792155) | about 6 years ago | (#25168807)

Maybe you are too young to realize this, but there was a time when this thing called the internet and email didn't exist, and it wasn't that long ago...

Re:Just do what your parents did.. (2, Insightful)

Halo1 (136547) | about 6 years ago | (#25168949)

Maybe you are too young to realize this, but there was a time when this thing called the internet and email didn't exist, and it wasn't that long ago...

And before that there was time when there wasn't tv to corrupt the kids. And before that there was a time when weren't any "bad" magazines. Every generation has its own new "evils" which didn't exist when they were young and from which they think they need to protect their kids.

Re:Just do what your parents did.. (1)

halsver (885120) | about 6 years ago | (#25169229)

It all boils down to pr0n. Exposure to pr0n at a very young age can really damage a kid.

There are physical and governmental restrictions to what children can and can not do offline. TV has the V chip and FCC censoring it for minors. Magazines need to be bought somewhere, I really doubt someone would sell pr0n to a prepubescent, let alone a minor.

Online, typing in the wrong URL can take you to a pr0n site. Monitoring and restricting a child's use of the internet is really the only way to let them on it at all before they become teenagers. At which point its all going to pot anyway!

Re:Just do what your parents did.. (1)

qoncept (599709) | about 6 years ago | (#25168845)

A flak vest doesn't protect its user 100%, but it improves their odds. What's so ridiculous about trying to find something to reduce the amount of filth your child sees?

Re:Just do what your parents did.. (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 6 years ago | (#25169169)

So, you're advocating putting flak vests on our kids, so we can improve their odds? After all, anything to keep them safe!

Re:Just do what your parents did.. (1)

Bretski (312912) | about 6 years ago | (#25168849)

Um yes. I was 17 when I first started seeing porn in my inbox. I imagine that same material may have a very different effect on a 5-year-old.

Re:Just do what your parents did.. (2, Funny)

Eg0Death (1282452) | about 6 years ago | (#25168919)

I didn't have email and the intratubes when I was kid! We had to go pick up the phone and use the rotary dial! Now get off my lawn!

Re:Just do what your parents did.. (2, Insightful)

SlashDotDotDot (1356809) | about 6 years ago | (#25168923)

Ummm...

Unless the OP is really young, his parents did not have to grapple with this issue. My first child is still a baby, and when I was old enough to know what a computer was, spam was definitely still canned meat.

OP is not exhibiting paranoia--he didn't say "Oh god! Fear the internet!" He's looking for a reasonable solution to a real problem that doesn't have a long history of solutions.

As for a solution, I agree with those who say auto-delete the spam and supervise email use for a few years.

Re:Just do what your parents did.. (1)

princessproton (1362559) | about 6 years ago | (#25168935)

I agree, but would like to also point out that if the kids want email badly enough, they will sign up for it on their own through the various free services available. There's a very fine line between appropriately shielding your children from potential harm and sheltering them to the point where they are unable to develop the critical decision making skills that will allow them to protect themselves. If something is deemed off-limits, the child will either not experience it and become "out of touch" with behaviors that are normal for their age, or, more likely, find a way to obtain it, and the parent will lose the ability to have an open dialogue about the important issues of the situation.

Re:Just do what your parents did.. (1)

4D6963 (933028) | about 6 years ago | (#25168941)

I hate to point the obvious, but I kind of doubt the guy's father created him an e-mail account when he was 12.

This being said, he should just create them a Gmail account and be prepared to answer to such questions as "Daddy, what's Vi4gR4?" or "Why do all these people write to me in gobbledegook?" or even "Can you lend me $29,000? That's for a friend in Nigeria.."

How old are they? (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | about 6 years ago | (#25168653)

My wife and I are just at the point where we're talking about kids, but I think what we'd do is not allow them to have an email account until we felt they were old enough to understand what porn is and why we don't want them looking at it. That way, you can expect them to push porn spam into the spam filter, and ground them if you catch them seriously looking at it. Before then, I just don't see a good reason. I wouldn't give my kids an email account until they're at least 10 years old, if I were in your position.

Call that what you will, but it's a good and easy way of being responsible.

Re:How old are they? (3, Funny)

Freeside1 (1140901) | about 6 years ago | (#25169251)

I think that parents encouraging their children to look at porn would be a decent deterrent.
The last thing I want to think about when I'm "seriously" looking at porn is my parents encouraging me.

Situation where a whitelist is good (5, Insightful)

MobileMrX (855797) | about 6 years ago | (#25168655)

I'd recommend looking for a service based on a whitelist rather than a service with great spam filtering. This will help you two ways:

1) Probably no spam
2) You can actively monitor and controlwho your children get email from (which is OK, these are children not adults!)

Re:Situation where a whitelist is good (1)

Eg0Death (1282452) | about 6 years ago | (#25168687)

I second the notion.

Re:Situation where a whitelist is good (1)

DKP (1029142) | about 6 years ago | (#25168703)

I agree with the above I would also make sure you had access to the email account no matter what you do it through.

A tool every parent needs... (1)

SoapBox17 (1020345) | about 6 years ago | (#25168829)

www.wireshark.org

If you are a parent, you should be monitoring *everything* your kids do on the internet. Until they are at least teenagers, they don't even deserve the "right to privacy" in their IM/chat conversations.

At a certain age, you should probably start backing off on monitoring their chat, and then what sites they visit. But until they are 18, there is *no* reason why you shouldn't be monitoring all of their social networking profiles. You should be sure you have "friend" access to look at all their pictures, etc (and if they don't want you on their friend list as yourself, just make a profile for the dog and use that).

Re:A tool every parent needs... (2, Insightful)

NothingMore (943591) | about 6 years ago | (#25169179)

Wow, that is some hard core invasion of privacy there. Why not install a key-logger while your at it, or take snapshots of the desktop every 2 seconds? Even in the OP's case logging every PACKET sent or received or sent might be a bit much, but suggesting doing that until the kid is 18?? thats pretty crazy and shows no trust at all in your kids. If you need to resort to packet logging to make sure your 16 year old is not doing incredible stupid things on the internet you really havent done your job as a parent. No amount of logging is going to fix that.

ISP (1)

krgallagher (743575) | about 6 years ago | (#25168663)

Check with your ISP. My service lets me have multiple email accounts and as the account owner, I can read the messages in the other email accounts.

What I would do as a parent ... (3, Insightful)

neonprimetime (528653) | about 6 years ago | (#25168685)

I would NOT pay for any email service. If anything I'd say use gmail or yahoo or something free. But ... I would say no matter how hard they whine, they do not need an email account until perhaps junior high years or so (getting a job age, getting a drivers license age, somewhere in between). Instead if they're little and still in elementary school, I am just letting them use "mom & dad's" email account to email relatives or receive emails from friends, etc. That way I can filter what was sent and received. Kids that young do not need their own email account.

Re:What I would do as a parent ... (1)

bishiraver (707931) | about 6 years ago | (#25168875)

I had an email account when we first got internet (local ISP started by the local newspaper, which eventually got bought out by mindspring, which eventually got bought out by earthlink). I think I was maybe 10 or 11.

It was the beginning of widespread public internet access, and I was the first kid on my block with it. I don't recall who I traded emails with back then - I was on 3DRealms' bbs a lot though. And then came WBS.net, and made some friends through there. I think my first introduction to porn came from the GeoCities chat, actually: their chat allowed people to post pictures, and someone posted some big tittied woman there. It may or may not have been before a guy at school (5th grade) brought a playboy in and showed it off to me at recess. I don't recall precisely.

My point being that, though it's more ubiquitous now, even if you restrict your kids from accessing the stuff on the internet, they're likely to run into it elsewhere where you CAN'T control/monitor the situation.

If you want "GOOD" email service.... (1, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | about 6 years ago | (#25168689)

Try looking at Motorola? http://www.good.com/ [good.com]

If you wanted to use gmail... (1)

anom (809433) | about 6 years ago | (#25168701)

You could create a filter for them that would automatically delete all email that doesn't contain a that is well-known to your family/those who would email them.

Re:If you wanted to use gmail... (1)

anom (809433) | about 6 years ago | (#25168721)

Insert the word string in the previous message ;)

COPPA (1)

SMacD (1140995) | about 6 years ago | (#25168713)

I really think you might have a hard time finding a "kid oriented" email account, at least that you wont have to monitor as well. I don't know the age of your children, but keep in mind that COPPA regulations don't allow people under 13 to do a lot of things online.

Re:COPPA (1)

merreborn (853723) | about 6 years ago | (#25169133)

I really think you might have a hard time finding a "kid oriented" email account, at least that you wont have to monitor as well. I don't know the age of your children, but keep in mind that COPPA regulations don't allow people under 13 to do a lot of things online.

COPPA doesn't restrict what kids can do online. It restricts what information you're allowed to collect from kids online.

As a result, many sites choose to simply not allow kids under 13 to register, so they don't have to risk running afoul of COPPA by requesting information they're not legally allowed to collect.

Zoobuh (2, Informative)

isBandGeek() (1369017) | about 6 years ago | (#25168731)

If you have the passwords to their email accounts, you can monitor what they do, and that's completely free, obviously. But if you want to filter incoming messages, a quick Google search turns up Zoobuh [zoobuh.com] , and there didn't seem to be negative feedback about it when I tried another Google search [google.com] . The website says it costs $1/month/child.

Re:Zoobuh (2, Informative)

navels (543508) | about 6 years ago | (#25168789)

We've been using Zoobuh for several years and are very satisfied. It has an easy interface for the kids and you can set up a whitelist for incoming and outgoing email.

Re:Zoobuh (1)

philhyde (986376) | about 6 years ago | (#25169101)

Zoobah is great. There is a parental interface which lets you create address books and control who email goes to and comes from. You can set it up so that all inbound/outbound email shows up in a queue for approval. Highly recommended. My 8 year old loves emailing her family members.

Your own domain (1)

Jason1729 (561790) | about 6 years ago | (#25168743)

You can get your own domain name and an unlimited email plan for a few bucks a month from hundreds of highly reputable hosting companies. And make sure you have access to their email and check it regularly.

Worry about IM! (5, Insightful)

dcobbler (553566) | about 6 years ago | (#25168747)

My 12-yr-old has an email under our ISP account that I can monitor and it barely matters. Email is what her Mum & Dad use. Instead, she's obsessed with IM ("MSN" is what she calls it), facebook & MySpace. *That's* what keeps me awake at night.

Cheers,
DCobbler

Re:Worry about IM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25169209)

You should take a look at http://www.immonitor.com/ [immonitor.com] . I downloaded a trial version to test it, and then purchased it. I discovered that my wife was sleeping with her best friend (who is a lesbian). You should take a look at it.

I've heard (-1)

nawcom (941663) | about 6 years ago | (#25168759)

that NAMBLA offers free IMAP accounts to kids for an oral fee.

In all seriousness, I've had much more luck with email services that provide IMAP access, especially ones that don't sell your addresses out to spammers themselves. If you do prefer a free service, be sure and read the agreement carefully.

Ummm... (1)

Tx (96709) | about 6 years ago | (#25168765)

Do you filter their web access as well? Otherwise just face the fact that once they're online, they're probably going to see some shit you'd rather they didn't see once in a while, live with it.

Best you can do is sign up to something like FastMail [fastmail.fm] , jack up the spam filtering to aggressive or whitelist-only (bit nazi, but if you really want control...).

kids email (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25168775)

Any provider that allows you to set an address to only get email from those in your addressbook would be fine.

AOL (ducking for mentioning the name on slashdot) has allowed this for many years, and I'd imagine others have too.

Then, you also have to consider if clicking on a link in an email should be allowed. You may want to turn that off,
depending on the kid. The AOL client, which I haven't used in a couple of years, used to allow you to set preferences
for which websites a kid could visit.(I'd assume that's still possible in parental controls.)

"Overprotectionism" (4, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | about 6 years ago | (#25168799)

What, exactly, are you trying to protect your kids from?

The natural tendency to make the world this warm, safe, fuzzy place for our children cannot be refuted. If we didn't look out for the basic well being of our infants, our survival as a species would be highly threatened.

But, I think that we as a society are suffering from over-protectionism. We take this natural urge too far. In order to learn that actions have consequences, they need to make some mistakes. Letting your child get a minor burn their hand on the stove when they are young prevents them from major burns later on. Letting your children make a few dumb mistakes when they are young and suffering the consequences results in mature, capable young adults.

But we aren't letting our youth make mistakes. When they do a few dumb things, we pass laws that say that you can do X until a later age. You can't drink until you are 21, and enforcement of these laws has result in a host of 21 year olds that are unable to deal responsibly with alcohol - the number of alcohol poisonings at the local college has been rising year after year.

And the response? "Don't let them drink 'till they are 25!". Not that this solves anything, because somehow the drinking age is just 16 in Germany and they don't seem to be having the problems with alcohol that we're having.

If you want kids that will grow up capable of handling the real world, you gotta give them a good taste of the real world so that they can work it through. If you want them to deal with sex responsibly, you have to let them see what sex is and does and what the consequences are of it. Don't hide them from hookers, let them see the real damage that prostitution does to marriages and families of those who engage with prostitutes. Let them see it for what it really is, rather than leaving them free to romanticize due to lack of information.

Sure, get a decent email host, with decent spam protection - that's just self respect. But don't think that if they see a picture of a penis pump, that they'll be ruined forever. Just answer their questions clinically and accurately, and trust that they can figure it out.

Remember, that kids tend to live up to your real expectations. If you expect them to be able to handle (for real) then they most likely will do just fine. And then, as adults, they'll be that much better equipped to handle all of reality.

Re:"Overprotectionism" (2, Insightful)

Eg0Death (1282452) | about 6 years ago | (#25169001)

"But dear, I was just showing our young son what a prostitute is. If I don't show him, how will he know when he does find one?"

Re:"Overprotectionism" (5, Insightful)

Bretski (312912) | about 6 years ago | (#25169015)

I understand your point of view. I plan to talk to my kids about sex and treat is as a "normal" part of our existence. However do you see a difference in these two things:

1) Factual, non-taboo discussions about sex, relationships, and even nudity.

2) Porn spam in their inbox, showing nearly gynecological views of women "ready to make you shoot your load" or "watch me get it on with a horse".

I really don't want my 5-year old kids exposed to this level of graphic imagery. Call me crazy. Everything I've read on the matter does indicate it can have a somewhat disproportionate affect on them in later life.

Re:"Overprotectionism" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25169103)

This is one of those Slashdot gems that should be moderated at +100 Hella-insightful-and-spot-on, but unfortunately the mods have left you at +2 (for now). I don't have any mod points, so I'll just say thank you.

Re:"Overprotectionism" (1)

l33tDad (1118795) | about 6 years ago | (#25169129)

Just out of curiosity, do you have kids? What you are saying is exactly what I hear from people who do not have kids of their own. When I became a parent, my philosophies on just about everything changed and I became very protective of them - this includes when they got online. They are 16 and 18 now and are very well adjusted even if I did monitor their usage and filtered their online experience.

of course you can overprotect (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 6 years ago | (#25169167)

you can also underprotect

the balance is a gray area that a lot of people have a lot of different opinions on. but there are some clear and obvious areas of society you do not want your kids exposed to

especially with regards to sex, because there are adults out there who will prey on children for sex

this is not overprotectionism, this is not hysteria, this is not fear. this is a real and valid concern: predators who will sexually abuse children. they exist, and they are not rare

and if you in any way belittle or doubt that concern, you are simply out of touch with reality

Re:"Overprotectionism" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25169253)

Wow... bad response (overprotectionism). I have an 11 year old girl that's just started using email with her friends. I use a domain that I own and have everything coming to her cc'd to my gmail account so I can see what's coming in.

Feel free to walk your kids through casinos and strip joints (which is what the internet has turned into). Let 5th and 6th graders watch R rated movies that have graphic sex and violence too and see how they turn out.

Another note in regards to the posters that say "well you turned out ok"... well, tell me how the internet was for you when you were a kid. In my case (age 48), there was very little porn circulating on the punch cards that we used in high school. As far as junior high, there weren't any computers in the school.

Even if you're 35 with an 11 year old, you're talking about a time where there wasn't really a commercial internet. The best you could find then was probably academics emailing ASCII animations of porn.

Is it necessary? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | about 6 years ago | (#25168803)

E-mail? Don't kids these days content themselves with MySpace mails and Facebook mails?

Just an idea (1)

lineman60 (806614) | about 6 years ago | (#25168809)

Set up your kids email on yahoo,gmail, (whatever) but setup a rule anything with out youKids in the subject just get deleted. your kids can have have an email an you can be faily sure that they will only get email from people they know, you could also do like a hotmail with a safe sender list.

How about (1)

esocid (946821) | about 6 years ago | (#25168817)

using a service that can forward your email to a client. So you have
  1. service's spam filter
  2. spam filter on the client you customize
  3. set it to auto-delete the spam if you are that paranoid

Seems cut and dry to me. Unless your kid is crafty enough to bypass your preventative measures, then the point is moot.

What about (3, Interesting)

jayhawk88 (160512) | about 6 years ago | (#25168863)

If you used something like Gmail, but "filtered" it again through yourself to make sure nothing unwanted gets through. Say, you setup the kids Gmail, but do not tell them the password or how to get on it via the web, and just set them up a Pop3 client on the computer that will get the mail for them. I think GMail will let you pop in? I do this on my Verizon phone anyway so I assume it's possible, and I don't see my spam folder stuff come down that way. Perhaps in combination with some security on the OS front on your home PC (kids can't log in without getting you, can only use it at certain times, etc) you would have ample time to review what they're getting in their GMail, kill what you don't want to get to them, then allow them to "check their email" via the pop client and (hopefully) still allow them to have at least the feeling of freedom that comes with checking their email and such.

Whitelist services (2, Informative)

kiehlster (844523) | about 6 years ago | (#25168871)

I didn't see mention of whitelist email services like Bluebottle [bluebottle.com] where users choose who they want to accept email from rather than swinging the gates open and filtering out the junk.

GMail Spam (1, Informative)

Carewolf (581105) | about 6 years ago | (#25168915)

GMail is not pretty good at sorting spam, it is the worst I've ever seen. Not only does it let tens of spam-emails through every day, it randomly tags one non-spam mail as spam every week. My former spamassassin only let 1-2 spams through a week, and false positives was limited to 1-2 per year. Compared to spamassassin; GMail is horrible. How can it be that bad, when it can compare so many emails and just check for duplicates????

Let Gmail Do the Work? (1)

ForCripeSake (932432) | about 6 years ago | (#25168925)

I'm going to preface this comment with the fact I am not a parent- so maybe this is a lot easier said than done, but just let Gmail do its spam guarding and have a talk with your kids about the type of content one finds in spam (nudies and pills), why people send spam(To try and Make or steal money), and why they should never open file attachments or mail from people they do not know. I would also be clear that you can monitor their email accounts and get rid of unwanted content.

It's pretty fascinating that this generation might need a precursor to "The Talk" given when they start connecting to the internet.

Remember the RFC: Be liberal in what you accept... (4, Insightful)

jesdynf (42915) | about 6 years ago | (#25168951)

... since your children will interpret censorship as damage and route around you. As soon as you make a decision they don't agree with, they'll be at Google registering their /real/ account...

And right after that, they'll learn to keep a slow flow of garbage to it they won't mind you catching, and then they'll learn compartmentalization, and by the time it gets far enough where you get suspicious, they'll already have so much damning evidence in their second account that they won't hesitate to lie to you about its existence, rationalizing it as being no worse than having indirectly lied to you these last few months, and...

Hmm. You know what? I wouldn't give them an email account. There's no way your expectation of control will match their expectation of privacy -- and for the purposes of this debate, I don't care what rights the parent has or has not, it's what the child expects that's important. If you want to teach your kids to lie to you, by all means, manage their email account. We've already got an industry trying to make a common good scarce and using fear tactics and hamfisted legislation; if you want your children to regard you with the same warm affection we give the RIAA, this is definitely the way to go about it.

Let them register an email account on their own. It's perfectly reasonable to reserve the right to extract the password from them, by force if neccesary -- but they should expect you won't do that unless you feel it's worth what it'll cost you. If you constantly snoop, you'll be snooping garbage inside a week.

Stop cushionning your kids... (1)

Quebec (35169) | about 6 years ago | (#25168973)

What's the point of cushionning young eyes from the reality of life? You think your kids do not have it in them to cope with life? if it's the case you'll be considered an old fart sooner than you think.

Re:Stop cushionning your kids... (1)

PontifexMaximus (181529) | about 6 years ago | (#25169147)

Are you out of your bloody mind? I'm all for letting them 'sink or swim' but that kind of bullshit mentality is beyond insane. I hope your stupid ass never has children. Do you think I want my 9 year old daughter to sift through PORN to read emails from her friends? Hell no. There is a time and place for letting them grow up, but that ain't it.

Imbecile.

My 2 cents. (2, Informative)

PontifexMaximus (181529) | about 6 years ago | (#25169003)

I have 3 girls, one who's 18 now, so she's old enough to handle herself as she's going into IT anyway. But my 2 youngest (12 and 9) aren't. My 9yo doesn't have an email account yet, mainly because anything she needs me or my wife will handle. My 12yo however, is another matter. In this case, setup Gmail (or hotmail or whatever, I do prefer Gmail's filters, though) to ONLY allow email from people listed in contacts.

That way anything else gets dropped.

RE: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25169041)

Really? Look - Kids aren't stupid at all, especially if they're requesting their very own e-mail account. They can just as easily turn on a TV to watch inappropriate behavior or see a billboard with an almost fully naked male or female suggestion something inappropriate as you drive down the freeway or just the surf the web when you're not home or at their friends house to see smut. With that said, we're really worried about e-mail spam and the content of it?

Just give the kid a Gmail account and get over it already. If we're that concerned about it, then have him/her create the account, then setup a forward to your account to monitor what comes in so you both get copies of the e-mail...

education banning (1)

Phurge (1112105) | about 6 years ago | (#25169043)

I can see how this thread is turning out - so all I will say is that its a lot better to educate your kids how to deal with situations, rather than banning them from from getting into those situations. Blanket bans with no explanation will only increase a child's curiosity and lessen their ability to deal with what they find.

Re:education banning (1)

Phurge (1112105) | about 6 years ago | (#25169155)

(forgot to preview) title should be education > banning

What about OnlyMyEmail's OME-Kids product? (1)

BryanR1977 (676402) | about 6 years ago | (#25169047)

http://www.onlymyemail.com/services/services_omekids/ [onlymyemail.com]
It's $24/year for up to 2 kids, and is pretty customizable.
From their site:
Messages we block may be easily released for delivery upon parental review and approval.

"Lock-Down" mode (most appropriate for very young children) is an option which will only allow email delivery from senders who have first received parental approval.

Parental oversight may be enhanced by enabling "Parental Review" which saves copies of all email delivered to your children's OnlyMyEmail addresses.

Our "Kids Carbon Copy" feature will send parents copies of all outbound messages sent from a child's OnlyMyEmail account.

Those features can be toggled as you see fit.

Do some parenting instead of some monitoring (1)

pm_rat_poison (1295589) | about 6 years ago | (#25169077)

If your kids are old enough to want to have an email address, it means that their friends have email addresses. And if their friends have email addresses, then your kids will probably get too, whether you are aware of it or not. If you get them a baby proofed address they'll end up not using it, and get a "real" mail address like gmail, yahoo, hotmail, or whatever kids use these days (when I've told them to get off my lawn). Make sure that your children are aware of the dangers on the internet. Make sure your children understand basic concepts like privacy and security. They're going to use internet on their own anyway, in the same way their peers do, whether you're like it or not. Don't stop them or monitor them, just teach them to do it the right way. Plus, if your kids are in their teens, or near that age, you don't really wanna break their trust and their feelings of independence by logging into their account and monitoring their activity. You want to strenghten their independence and you want them to respect you for trusting them. That way, it's gonna be easier for them to do what you tell them to do. Parenting is not about monitoring whether your children are safe when you're not around, it's about teaching them to BE safe when you're not around. Of course, that doesn't make you any less worried, but you can choose to train them to be adults, or you can choose to baby-proof them. Just remember that you're gonna worry either way, but you can also make them more responsible in the process.

Citadel (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 6 years ago | (#25169125)

Hmm, for a few bucks month you can run your own mail server. Citadel http://www.citadel.org/ [citadel.org] installs in about 20 minutes and is zero maintenance. There is no easier email system on the planet and it Just Works (TM).

The Software is the Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25169153)

You can setup MS Outlook to whitelist any email account. For stuff that isn't on the list, you can have it automatically deleted. If you choose, you can have the non-whitelisted stuff forwarded to your account so you can keep an eye on what is being filtered out from the kiddie's account.

Gmail spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25169157)

I love all the people who bash gmail saying it doesn't have a good spam filter.

I have 0 spam that escapes the spam folder, and my gmail account has been around

I can only conclude they sign up their email to some real unpleasant sites

Let son look at porn, become real man (1)

Fat Wang (1230914) | about 6 years ago | (#25169177)

I would want my son to look at porn and become a real man. If you keep your kids away from being curious about the opposite sex, they might turn gay. And who wants some queer child?

Google + Postini (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25169183)

Gmail is actually your best bet. Google owns Postini, and Postini is the best commercial spam solution out there bar none.

White-listing (1)

KeepQuiet (992584) | about 6 years ago | (#25169215)

Set up some filters so that only people you know can send emails to your kids. If they need some new friends, you can add them to filter which also gives control on who they are talking to.

Have a watchful eye with your own domain... (1)

samalex01 (1290786) | about 6 years ago | (#25169225)

Even though our daughter isn't even out of diapers yet, my wife and I have discussed when a good time would be for her to have access to the Internet, and how much access to grant. As a computer guy myself any computer she accesses at home will be firewalled with an invisible proxy to track where she goes, plus having my own domain I'll be able to monitor email as well, which is what i'd suggest for you.

If you register your own domain name, which is like $9/year if that, you can use Google Apps to - http://www.google.com/apps [google.com] - for email and have total control over our kids email accounts. Plus with your own domain you can pick any names you want, which is nice since all the decent names with Google and any free service have pretty much been taken.

If you're not a technical guy, it's not difficult to setup, and you can also use Google Docs to collaborate with your kids and family, which is what we do. It's actually a nice feature to have, and quite convenient when you bounce between home, work, laptop, school, etc.

Anyway, hope this helps...

Get a Wii (5, Interesting)

MagicM (85041) | about 6 years ago | (#25169249)

Probably not what you're looking for, but one option is to get them a Wii. Each Wii has an associated email address of w[friend code]@wii.com, and you have to whitelist any addresses on the Wii that you want to be able to receive email from. Spam-proof, "child-safe", and you can play bowling on it!

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