My daughter is 7. She doesn’t need an email address. At school, she has been given one to use during typing class. The day that I received my first email from her school email, I was almost giddy. You see, I work in communications. I am not scared of social media, technology or digital communications. I understand the many pros and the nasty list of cons. However, smart phones and mobile devices are forever changing how our world works and since I love communicating, especially via the written word, I though it would be fun to teach my daughter how to use email to interact with a select group of people.

Like many parents, I knew I couldn’t just set her up with a regular Gmail account. I found an app that actually looks really great called Tocoemail and it costs $4.99 in the App Store. I would have bought it, but Renae’s iPod is old enough that it can no longer update to the latest iOS. So I had to figure out a work around. Thanks go a Google search, I stumbled upon this post that helped me set up a safe and secure Gmail account. Here is my own step-by-step guide with screenshots. I hope it’s helpful to you!

Step One: Start a new Gmail account. You can use your child’s real name if you want to reserve their Gmail account for when they are older, or create a unique name that gives them another level of protection. Just please, do not use multiple Xs in their email address for obvious reasons . . .

I recommend you NOT list their correct birthday or gender, just to be on the safe side. For my daughter’s birthday, I just picked a date similar to mine.

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Step Two: Skip creating a public Google+profile. I did NOT add a picture or any other information about my daughter. Again, for obvious reasons. Remember, you are just creating a way for her to email you and other select family members.

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Step Three: Click on settings underneath the gear icon in Gmail.

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Step Four: Create a filter.

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Step Five: Add in the email address on your approved list.

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After you add in the email addresses, click on “Create filter with this search” and on the next screen . . .

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Select “delete it” so that any emails that come through that do NOT match up with the approved filter will just be automatically deleted, rather than sitting in spam where your child could possibly find it. Lastly,  click “Create Filter” and you are done!

After I did this, I then added the email account to my daughter’s iPod, and informed the people on her list that they could email her at her new email address. For now, just Jesse and I and our parents are allowed to email her. She has sent me 3 short emails already today with lots of “I love you Mommy!!!” and other affirming words that make me smile. It’s been fun to interact with her on a level that I practically spend my entire day on.

A few extra notes . . .

  • Review with your child that they should never give out their email address to someone without asking first. Even though that person will not be able to email your child because of the filter you’ve set up, it’s still a good safe guard to have in place.
  • I added her email account onto my phone. This allows for me to watch what she is writing and who she is writing to on the off chance that the filter doesn’t work. I have already enjoyed seeing what she is writing to her Grandparents, though I don’t intend to read every email she writes. This is a place for her toe practice her writing skills and modern day “typing” (using thumbs). 🙂

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