Let’s face it: children today are exposed to far more technology on a daily basis that we ever dreamed of when we were kids.
They want more technology too, from game systems, to MP3 players, cell phones, the ability to send text messages, and their own email accounts.
When is your child old enough to have an email account of their own? The answer to that question depends a lot on how mature your child is, and how much parental supervision you are willing to provide.
Internet safety for kids cannot be overstated. You must educate yourself on how to keep your child safe while online, and you must properly supervise your child. In some families, this means having a minimum age for electronic communication.
For some families, this means no computers in private areas, only shared family areas. Neither of these choices can take the place of having honest and open discussions with your child, and monitoring their electronic activity.
Another thing you can do to keep your child safe is limit the persons to whom they are allowed to give an email address. My daughter, for example, was only allowed to give her email address to her aunt, her grandmother, her godmother, and three of her friends.
More freedom will come as she gets older, but for a 9 year old, that’s an acceptable group of contacts. All other email communications must come through my email account.
The answer to how old your child should be for an email account is one you will ultimately have to answer for your own family. When in doubt, err on the side of waiting. There is plenty of time for technology later, and only so many short years to enjoy just playing and being a kid.