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Two years ago, we were introduced to Kids Email as part of the Homeschool Review Crew. My youngest son thoroughly enjoyed being able to send messages to his dad and grandmothers. He even would occasionally send one to me or one of his brothers, too. This was a great way to start teaching him responsible email usage.
As he really enjoyed having this method of communication, we extended our subscription to the service. When the opportunity came to review it again with another year added to our subscription, we jumped at the chance.
Email for Kids: What Makes Kids Email Unique
There are plenty of email options out there. But, many of them can become laden with spam or open doors you’d rather not have open when it comes to a child. That doesn’t stop some families from setting up a younger child with an account (even if the terms of service specify a minimum age.)
While I can appreciate the desire for a free service, I also know that I want to have a safe environment for my boys to learn the basics.
Key Features of Kids Email
- Block Senders
- Contact Manager
- Control Attachment Types
- Custom Mailbox Folders
- Mail Monitoring
- Mail Queue
- No Ads
- Offensive Word Filter
- Remove Links and Images
- Spam Filtering
- Template Options
- Time Restrictions
While you may not use all these features, they are great to have at your fingertips.
My Favorite Features of Kids Email
No ads and the spam filter are key components of this service that are well worth the subscription price. I use a few ‘free’ email services and sometimes the ads and spam can become overwhelming. I don’t want those temptations present for 8-year-old son.
Between the contact manager and mail monitoring, I can keep tabs on who he is communicating with and not worry that something will slip by me. And, if he were to email someone not on his contact list the bottom of the email indicates it is coming from a minor child.
You can access Kids Email on the computer or via apps on portable devices. This has been helpful as the school laptop was out of commission for a while. So, J was able to use the iPad to get to his email.
Finally, when they are struggling with particular words in an email message, they can have the message read aloud to them. This is a feature J used more when we first started with the service.
“Hiccups” with Kids Email
While our experience has been positive overall, we did see a few ‘hiccups’ with the service. This all came out when my 17-year-old was emailing his brother for kicks and giggles.
They found the attachment stripping to be annoying. He was trying to send a Word file to his brother.
This is a setting I had not gone and adjusted on his account, so the program did exactly what it should have done. Below is a list of options you can pick from for allowed attachments.
The other issue they found was some words were censored that they found strange. Some of them made sense such as the word hell. But, my older son said that it removed the word escorted from an email he sent to J.
Email for Kids: The New Way to Have Pen Pals
Something different for J this time around is that he is now connected with a few pen pals. He was still rather young last time the Crew reviewed the service, so I didn’t participate in a pen pal match up. However, this time I felt he was ready to branch out.
At first, he was a little nervous about the idea. After all, he has never met these kids.
But, that’s what has always been at the root of the pen pal idea. You get connected with someone who is outside your local sphere and hopefully learn more about the world.
Now, he looks forward to hearing from the few kids he is connected to on his Kids Email account. Each one of them had to be added by me to his contacts for him to have direct communication. And I still receive a copy of each email to my inbox.
We have used this experience to also teach about key language arts concepts like complete sentences, paragraph formation, and even spelling. He does often ask for guidance/help from me or an older brother when writing to one of his new pen pals.
Email for Kids: Final Takeaway
Overall, this is a product we never thought about wanting in our lives but now see a huge benefit. Yes, it costs money compared to all those free email providers. But, I far prefer to keep ads and spam away from my youngest at this point.
While we are using it for just my youngest son, the family subscription option gives you up to six children. I shared a bit about the teen option in my past review of Kids Email and plan to migrate J’s settings to that one in another few years.
Do you teach your younger children to use email?
What services have you tried with kids for email?
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit Kids Email post on the Homeschool Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this resource.