brockmann-ome-kidsWhen I rolled out email to my children in 1998, I was very conscious of email security. My youngest son was 8 at the time while his oldest sister was only 13. They had had a computer in their bedrooms for three years or so, but Internet service was pervasive in our house for only for a short while.

Being a careful parent, I briefed each of them on ten (or so) rules that I had prepared to make their use of email a safe and pleasant experience. I even posted it near their computers for easy reference in large fonts. Rules like always use correct grammar, never leave your email address on a website without parent approval, don't reply to emails from people I don't know and never click on emails sent to you from people you don't know, ask if in doubt…

in any event, being a child in the age of the Internet, satellite TV, Instant Messaging and SMS is tough enough without the worries of inoculating children against the risk of nasty emails.

For a more automated approach, the folks at the email hygiene processor Only My Email have launched a service designed for parents to help their children enjoy their email experience without fear of abuse, phishing or fear of spam. It's called and it's webmail with rules that parents will love. I met Steven Canale, the President of OnlyMyEmail on the phone and we discussed the challenges of helping children have a positive email experience.

Some of the features of the service include:

  • Webmail interface – there is no POP3 option since they can't control the experience well enough
  • Parental lockdown controls on who can email the kids accounts
  • Parental review and archive of in and outbound emails
  • Kids carbon copy – parents get copies of both inbound and outbound emails
  • Parents can control many children's email with one UI

So parents are the final arbiter of who gets email access to the children. And at only $24/year for 2 kids accounts, it really makes sense eh? 

Here's a screen shot of the parent's pending queue.


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