Welcome to the Emailogic blog
At Emailogic we believe everyone should be a brilliant email user. Training in email etiquette creates huge productivity gains that mean staff have more time, reduce email traffic and communicate more effectively. And it is not difficult to achieve - as hundreds of thousands of Emailogic graduates have proven.
Recent studies by Ofcom on the use by children of the internet revealed that children as young as five were accessing information online – without parental supervision.
Specific websites and email accounts aimed at young children – encouraged independent use of the internet by children as young as five.
Personally I think this is far too young. My daughter recently was given a well known comic and it enticed her to join the magazine ‘club’ online. Once we looked further (after being cajoled somewhat) we found that it was essentially a networking site – access to which is a big parental decision to make for a child that at the age of eight has had a very controlled, limited exposure to the internet.
In this case it was a very clear no – we believe at 8 she should be sharpening her social skills face to face – there is plenty of time to learn about online social skills when she is older.
Many parents have first or second hand experience of a child being inadvertently exposed to material or messages that they found upsetting – and when they are that young it can be very disturbing and in some cases extremely damaging. And once it is done – it is done.
There is also the whole question of online bullying – which is rife amongst teenagers. The disconnectedness of internet communication (it is so often one way or ‘asynchronous’) lends itself to bullying – see my blog on ‘disinhibition’.
While there are currently no email accounts specifically designed for school age children, packages such as Outlook can offer some protection by ensuring all messages are downloaded first to be read by a parent before the child can read them. However the possible risk of any new email account being inundated with inappropriate spam is something which all parents need to be aware of.
Some “kid friendly” email packages such as Yahoo require the child to be at least 13 years of age before signing up and will not communicate with any person below that age.
However the debate still rages as to when it is acceptable to hand over control of email to a child – and what controls you should have in place before they start.
Advice from Emailogic would be:
Educate yourself about what is available before your child gets connected
Decide if your child really need his/ her own email account – and for what purpose
Agree simple rules for their use of the email account that reflect your values
Share the email address with grandparents and closest friends only
Choose an email package which allows you to download content first
I have started a discussion about this topic on the Emailogic Linkedin Group – click here and join in.
PS I was thrilled to setup my 11 year old son with his first email address last weekend. He is thrilled too……. and I made sure I sent him his first email!