One of our biggest challenges as a military family is staying connected and helping the boys develop their relationships with our extended family. We’ve tried the snail mail method, but its hard for the two little boys who are not yet reading or writing. I’ve considered setting up email for a while, but was unsure of how to do it with the filters and security that I wanted for my young children. A new option came to us through the Homeschool Review Crew and I’m very excited for the new email program we are all using.
KidsEmail.org is a web based service that provides email accounts for children and teens with extensive parental controls. Parents and children log in separately so its easy to manage accounts for the whole family.
When setting up an account, the website walks you through all the options. Safety options include limiting incoming mail to contact list only, limiting children to only email people on the approved contact list, send a copy of all messages to the parent, allow images, allow links, and allow bad words. I started all the boys accounts with the most restrictive options set.
The contact list is extremely easy to input from the parent log in and includes the option of adding the contacts to all the children accounts at once. I put in all the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a few close family friends. I sent out one email to everyone to let them know the new account had been set up, then turned it over to the boys.
In addition to the expected web based interface, there are also apps that can be added to tablets and smart phones. I put the app on our iPad and the old iPods that they boys are able to use. The option for a tablet interface was wonderful for the little boys!
When composing email, the boys can type their message either on the computer or using the touch screen on one of the iOS devices. There is also an option to draw a picture or take a picture to attach to the emails. I really like the picture options for the little boys to be able to communicate with family.
How We Used KidsEmail.org
As I said above, I set up the emails for the boys and let them go! My dad is newly retired and he responded quickly to the messages that the boys sent. On one day in particular he and Bebop exchanges messages at least a dozen times!
I let the boys check their email in the mornings before school (read only) and then give them time in the afternoons during our quiet time to respond. Bebop likes to sit at the computer and practice his keyboarding skills. Magoo and Doodad prefer to take silly pictures to send. I do help the little boys type out messages.
I’ve played around with the various security settings quite a bit and found I prefer the tight setting while my kids are so young. I really like the notification of a message so I can remind the boys to respond.
What We Think of KidsEmail.org
The boys and I love KidsEmail.org! It’s so easy for them to navigate and stay in contact with family and friends. The boys love checking the iPad for messages and I love how they are practicing all their reading and writing skills without realizing it!
I highly recommend KidsEmail.org for anyone who wants to give their children a safe and secure email.