MouseMail Review & $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

When I was growing up, parents didn’t really give much thought to how they were going to prepare their kids for technology. It was the 70s and 80s, after all, and the only real technology on our horizon was a home computer that ran MS-DOS or the sah-weet Texas Instruments calculator that marked the beginning of pre-calculus. Well, and there was also the Brother Word Processor that I took to college my junior year, but considering that all I could do with it was 1) type papers and 2) print papers, it didn’t really add to my understanding about the responsibilities that go along with technology. Unless the responsibilities involved buying pricey typewriter ribbons, of course.

But the times, they have changed. And as the mama of an eight year-old, I sometimes feel a little bit panicked when I think of everything that’s “out there.” Between the web, texting, Facebook, emailing and IM’ing, there’s just a lot to consider, you know? So far our little guy’s computer use is restricted to about five sites that we have bookmarked for him, and the computer that he uses is in a wide-open area right off of our kitchen, AS IT FOREVER WILL BE. But I know the day is coming when we’ll need to help him broaden his technological horizons – for schoolwork if nothing else – and I want to be sure that we teach him well.

So, given all of that, it was a no-brainer for me when BlogHer asked if I’d like to review MouseMail, a web-based email client that’s geared toward first-time email users and designed to help parents supervise and protect their kids. I thought the concept sounded great, and while an email account is probably a year or two down the road for our little guy, I’m all for testing out options that will enable us to navigate unchartered email territory a little easier when the time comes. Not to mention the fact that I was delighted to hear that a company was forward-thinking enough to recognize that there are a lot of parents who want to be a part of the process when it comes to introducing technology to their kids.

A couple of weeks ago I went to and set up an account for me and an account for Alex. I wanted to know how much control I’d have over his account, and I also wanted to know what the email interface would be like for him. What I’ve discovered as I’ve taken the service for a little “test drive,” so to speak, is that there are several aspects that I definitely like – but a few that I would change if I could.

What do I like?

Well, here’s a list.

1) The parent can see any message that comes into or goes out of the child’s email account. On top of that, a message doesn’t even make it to the child’s inbox until the parent has approved the message or the sender. I think that’s great. Parents can also approve contacts (like, say, a sibling or a grandparent) so that those emails go directly to the child’s inbox, but if those emails contain any language that’s listed as inappropriate in the MouseMail dictionary, the message is flagged and sits in moderation until the parent has a chance to look at it.

2) MouseMail comes complete with a dictionary that flags inappropriate words and abbreviations. Parents can add to that dictionary as frequently as they like.

3) A parent can monitor accounts for all of their children from one central dashboard. If you have four kids with email accounts, you can adjust their individual settings to whatever might be age-appropriate for them, and you don’t have to log in and log out of five different accounts to do that. Having all the kids’ email addresses in one place is much more efficient and convenient. You just click on a child’s name, see if there’s anything to review, then move on to the next child.

4) The interface is very kid-friendly. It’s straightforward, and it’s icon-driven. As tech-savvy as kids are today, there’s no question that they’d be comfortably emailing within five minutes of logging on for the first time. It’s always nice to be able to introduce something new without frustration for you or your kids.

5) Parents control what features kids can use. MouseMail also offers web texting and games (more on those things later), but parents can modify those features so that kids can’t use them. Parents can also control the times of day (and days of the week) when kids can use the web texting feature, and I think that will come in handy for parents who want for their children to use that feature.

What would I change?

1) MouseMail comes with games. I’m not sure why this is necessary, but I initially figured it was harmless and no big deal. However, after I clicked around a little bit, I realized that each game contains a link to a gaming site. I thought maybe the link only worked for parents, but when I logged in to Alex’s account, I realized that links work for kids, too. It seems a little strange to me that an email service designed to protect kids would have links to sites that I’d never allow my child to visit at this stage in his life. Parents can block the games so that kids can’t see them, but there are over 30 games, and it was kind of a pain to go through and individually block every single one.

I’d love to see a “block all” option. Plus, the games icon still shows up at the bottom of the big list of red icons on the child’s mail dashboard – even if all of the games are blocked. If there’s a way to block the games icon and prevent it from showing up on the child’s account, I haven’t figured it out yet.

2) MouseMail also comes with web texting. Kids just click on a phone icon, and at that point they can either select a contact (which has been approved by the parent) or enter in a phone number. I think that being able to enter in a phone number is a bad idea. Just to see how it worked, I signed in to Alex’s account and entered a friend’s phone number. I was able to send that friend a text without the text going to moderation for parent review. My friend’s reply did go to moderation, which is good, but I just don’t love the thought of young kids being able to text random numbers. There was a work-around, though; I went into the parent settings and created a rule that pretty much turned off the texting feature.

The icon still shows up on the child’s dashboard, though – and if there’s a way to get rid of it, I haven’t found it.

3) There’s a tasks feature where a parent can enter a chore or assignment, and then kids earn MouseMail points when the task is completed. Kids also earn points that go in their MouseMail “bank” when they answer a question correctly when they log in. Keeping up with points and rewards and all that sort of stuff just isn’t my thing, so that’s definitely a feature that I’d turn off if I could. And I’d remove the icon on my child’s dashboard, too. :-)

All in all, I think MouseMail is a great concept. I so appreciate that they’re trying to cooperate with parents as we help our kids learn to be responsible and safe as far as technology is concerned. I also recognize that it’s a free service that will no doubt provide a lot of value for thousands of parents. I would love, though, to have the option to pay a minimal fee in order to have greater customization. I think it would be great if parents could remove the icons of features that they don’t want their kids to use.

MouseMail is definitely on the right track, and I’ll be curious to see how they modify and improve this much-needed email option. I’ll continue to check my account so that I can keep up with changes, and I’ll definitely consider MouseMail when it’s time for our little boy to have his first email account. I hope that it’ll be more customizable when that day comes.

So what about you? Do you have any practical tips for helping kids learn how to be responsible with technology? Do you think there’s an ideal age to introduce email? Or cell phones? Leave your feedback in the comments, and you’ll be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card courtesy of BlogHer.

Also, visit the BlogHer Promotions and Prizes section for more chances to win!

This sweepstakes will run from 7/18-8/15.

Can’t wait to hear from y’all – and good luck!

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  1. I really don’t think there is generally a need for young kids to have cell phones. For us, the ideal age was 14 or 15, which was when our kids had a lot of after school commitments and they might have needed to get in touch with us.

  2. I don’t know what the right age to introduce email/cell phones/etc. to kids is…but I know what it’s not: Eight. Our eight year old was begging for a cell phone and we had to pull a Barney Fife and “NIP IT! Nip it nip it!” There’s no need for him to have a cell phone at this time in his life, because he’s not going to be anywhere that we’re not except school and phones aren’t even allowed there.

  3. My older kids didn’t have cell phones until they could drive by themselves. So 16 years old worked for us. They were coming along right at the time things began to boom technology wise. My youngest will not have a cell phone until he’s at least 15 years old. I’m old fashioned like that! Email depends on the child and how mature he is. It’s great for helping with keyboarding skills so I like it for that reason.

  4. Allison B says:

    I don’t think a young kid needs a cell phone until he/she is old enough to be out without another parent accompanying him/her. Whatever age that is – 11, 12? It should be child-specific.

  5. My oldest son was 11 when he got an email and 12 when we got him a cell phone. We had a security feature on his email and he didn’t know the password so we had to check it first. We also have our computers password protected so that we know what he is doing and when. I firmly believe you cannot be too protective when it comes to your children and technology!

  6. I don’t have kids yet but I think the number one thing is to be around when the kiddos are on the computer. Our computer was in the living room but I was much more likely to snoop around when my parents weren’t there than when they were. Love the concept of mouse mail. Hate the game idea altogether.

  7. Robin M. says:

    I think middle-school age is soon enough for email / cell phone.

  8. Lacey C. says:

    Our kids are younger than your son, and for now we are letting them send and receive occasional emails to FAMILY members through my email account. If they talk on a cell phone, it’s on my phone. If they get a text, it’s on my phone. So they are being introduced and having a little fun, but it’s all on my accounts and I see and allow everything.

  9. Julie G says:

    Thank you for the thorough review. I have my pre-teens on e-mail, but the senders have to be on a pre-approved list. Mousemail looks like it has better rules in that regard than the AOL product we are using. We are one of the few holdouts among middle school parents whose children don’t have a cell phone. These things can wait for a while. I think the ideal age doesn’t really exist – it has to do with the maturity & responsibility of each individual child.

  10. I don’t have kids, but the family I nannied for and the family that “adopted” me in college both have very sensible rules. You don’t get a cell phone until you’re 12, at which point you’re away from mom some (eg, at the mall with friends and no one else’s parents) and might need to call her. You can’t join online services until you’re the age that the service requires (eg, to join Facebook, you have to be 13 for real). On email, I think it was about the same, but in my experience most teenagers aren’t using a lot of email these days. They’re much bigger on Facebook and texting, both of which are harder to supervise.

  11. Heather says:

    I’m currently reading a book entitled “The Winter of Our Disconnecingt.” I am becoming increasingly aware that while technology is a must in our world, it is also a privilege and not something we just hand to children “for fun.” Yes, we need to teach them how to use it responsively, but there is burden in every new gadget/account we hand to our children. I’m a firm believer that my 8 year old does not need e-mail or a cell phone. However, I can foresee a time in the future when she will. What caught my attention, though, is this: if the belief is that they will catch on in all of five minutes, what do we feel the need to introduce it so early?

  12. My older son was 15 when he got a cell phone, and that’s the age my other son will be when he gets one. I don’t believe middle school kids really “need” a cell phone. At college orientation a few years ago, a professor said that a student told him that e-mail was for old people. All the young people text now.

  13. I’d say a cell phone for a child who is old enough to be on his/her own. It’s a difficult decision and you’d have to take the child’s maturity and extracurricular activities into account. My children are grown; the youngest came along when beepers were the thing to have and I finally let her get one when she was about sixteen. Don’t envy you and other parents dealing with today’s technology.

  14. When my children started high school we gave them cell phones and allowed Facebook accounts.

  15. This is such a cool idea

  16. My 3 and a half year old son loves to send emails to his grandparents. It’s a nice way to get him learn more vocabularies because he’s so into computers. However, need to constantly remind him he’s not supposed to “click around” besides sending and reading emails. So far, sitting next to him to guide and monitor him is the only way that’s 100% safe. Good that he doesn’t know the password to unlock the laptop yet!

  17. Just tweeted about this giveaway and here’s the link:!/uTry_it

  18. Not being a parent yet myself, I cannot say anything from experience or with great certainty; however, my opinion is that many children are given free reign with technology much too early. I can’t think of any reason why a child younger than 13 or 14 would have any need for a cell phone. I would also not be comfortable with a child younger than that being on Facebook or having a private e-mail. There’s just too much freedom that comes with that territory. I love the concept of the Mouse Mail – I think it is very important for parents to be able to monitor the activity in the way that program seems to allow.

  19. Great review! I may look into this for my daughter, who is 11. She had a neighborhood friend who moved across town and I know she’d love to email her.
    I think that the biggest thing to keeping kids safe online, especially as they’re younger, is having the computer in an open area where they can be monitored, as well as having good parental control software on the computer.

  20. Anne N. says:

    I think it is a good idea for kids to keep in touch with relatives and even practice typing. I can’t imagine they would need an account until they are 9 or 10.

  21. Mami2jcn says:

    My 6 year old isn’t interested in going online yet but my 8 year old keeps asking to set up his own Facebook page and email accounts. He’s too young for that, in my opinion. Right now I supervise him when he wants to search different subjects that he’s interested in. The other day he was searching pythons and cobras. Maybe once he’s 10 I might reconsider about the email.

  22. Mami2jcn says:


  23. I think open communication and education is the best way to go. If kids hear their friends talking about something and they don’t already know what it is, they could get the wrong ideas or just plain want to do it more. I don’t think there’s a set age limit, it really just depends on each individual child’s maturity level.

  24. Our oldest got a (very cheap) cell phone at 11.
    With soccer practices and such -and now that he’s older, home alone at times- it was great.
    We did not allow texting. He’s now allowed to text the grandparents and us and a couple of cousins ;)

    Tech is a scary world for our kids and us. . .really I don’t think we can be to careful.
    Our kids have a few select sites they can go to and that’s it.
    Computer ALWAYS were we can see it.
    Loved this email concept and look forward to checking it out.

  25. Amanda S says:

    I think 11 or 12 is a good age for cellphones. I don’t have children but would love to be able to get in touch with my child if needed.

  26. Amanda S says:
  27. Tammy Elrod says:

    My husband and I feel that the longer you can out it off the better

  28. We have done our best to teach usage while not teaching that it’s a right. So our kids know how to use a computer (they also get this in school) and how to do research and homework, but we all share a computer and it’s in a public place. They have their own email addys and FB pages, but I have passwords and all the email comes to the same inbox so they basically all come thru me. They share a cell phone because they need one sometimes but not all the time. When they can afford to pay for a phone, they can have their own.

  29. Nita in South Carolina says:

    Mine are mid-teens now. One thing I did was tell them that if they ever got anything inappropriate via email, if they would come to me IMMEDIATELY, they wouldn’t get in trouble. It only happened a couple of times, but we were able to address the situation and they felt comfortable keeping me “in the loop”.

  30. This is a really great idea!

  31. I made my daughter wait until she was 13 to get a FB. That’s when she got her e-mail account. (Which she only opened to get the FB!) And she got my old phone as an 8th grade graduation present. She really didn’t NEED the phone, but it has been a useful tool in helping her keep in contact with her friends. Since my girls are homeschooled, and their extra activities have a definite ending time, this will probably be the pattern we use with the rest of them, too.

    She is aware that I can check her texts at any time, and she doesn’t keep her phone in her room at night. She has been very responsible and we’ve had no problems.

  32. My kids got email at about 11 years old, cell phones about the same time. But their phones are simple tracfones, not fancy smart phones (I certainly don’t think they need those). We monitor online time.

  33. i dont think anyone needs phones until they’re in middle school, email in high school!

  34. I may look into this! We’ve moved away from family, and my daughter (8) really likes writing. I’d like an easy way for her to do email with family. I see no reason to add friends to the mix at this point, but it’d be nice for her to have more communication with Grandmas & Grandpas.

    I wouldn’t want the texting feature. Or the games. And we’re in no hurry for a cell phone! I think the age for that depends on the child’s responsibility level and “need.” I mean – I didn’t have a cell in my youth and I survived just fine. But I can see how it might be nice for a middle school or higher child to contact parents for rides. I don’t love the can of worms it opens, but I’ll cross the bridge when I come to it.

  35. My son is 24 now so I got lucky that when he was younger, he wasn’t even paying attention to a computer, much less a cell phone. The biggest worries for me was him riding his go kart all over the place and hoping he wouldn’t Too be honest, I am not sure what age is appropiate exactly. I do like the idea of maybe middle school age children having a phone, mainly as a protection. Thank you and the MouseMail looks like a super idea. :)

  36. My daughter had an e-mail account when she was thirteen and a phone when she was fifteen.

  37. Jessie C. says:

    My kids are still too young to have a cell/email account. They do love watching video, cartoons online, hubby and I always sit with them for safety reason.

  38. Jessie C. says:
  39. My son is 11 & has been asking for email to send pic’s to Nana & Papa from his Ipod…I might try this out! Thank you for sharing!

  40. It sounds like a cool idea, but one that still needs a little tweaking. My almost 8 yo has a gmail address and right now she doesn’t have access to it without parental help (she doesn’t know her password) and only people that we have put in her contacts are approved to send to (which is family for the time being). I’ve also created a rule that any email she gets, I get a copy of so when my 13yo niece forwards everyone she knows a joke that the 7yo isn’t going to get or isn’t appropriate, I can go in and delete it before she even knows about it. It’s working for us right now!

  41. edgefarms says:

    We have one computer available for our child to use. It is located in our room where we know when he is using it and what he is doing. We do not believe he needs a cell phone as of yet, though he is one of very few that don’t. He is currently 12.

  42. Can’t wait to check it out. Our daughter has camp friends who have email addresses and she would love to keep in touch with them. But, I’m weary to just give her an email address to be in touch with those children since I haven’t met many of them and certainly do not know their parents. She also has friends from school who have email addresses, but I’d rather just have them over to play than have her sit down in front of the computer to interact with them.

  43. I would love to have this for the my 7 year old grandson. It sounds and looks wonderful.

  44. We are putting off Facebook for as long as possible. My daughter will be 13 this year, but I see no benefit to it at this age. She does, however, have a cell phone. She played sports for her school and needed one since she wasn’t always with me or another adult.

  45. Jessica says:

    I have young children: 5 and 6 months, so I’m not yet in the middle of the technology age; however, the 5 year old is quickly figuring out the computer! My plan, for now, is to closely monitor his computer usage by keeping the computer in a public location in the home. As for cell phones and such, I’m not sure about an age. I think we will have definite rules about usage, but what those are, I’m not sure yet! :)

  46. As a middle school teacher, my opinion is that kids have TOO much technology at far TOO young of an age. It just doesn’t seem necessary and leads to trouble. My oldest child will be in middle school this year and will not have her own cell phone or facebook account. We haven’t decided exactly what the proper age is, but I truly believe that it is not 6th grade! Also, I believe that having a filter on the internet is very important – SafeBrowse is a great one!

  47. While I like the concept of MouseMail, I’m not in a hurry to expose my six-year-old to email just yet. He hasn’t asked for access to email, and I’m not pushing for him to have it. I want him to stay little as long as he can. :-) It’s nice to have that option for when he does start to get curious, though. Maybe by then they’ll have worked out the kinks you mention above, especially the ones with links to gaming sites because that’s a big no-no in my book.

  48. I don’t think kids need a cell phone until they will be somewhere without a parent like once they are on a traveling sports team or something and definitely once they are driving on their own. Elementary school kids with cell phones? No. Ridiculous. Why in the world would they need one? If they are on a team or something that travels, then I would get one of those phones that can only call and receive calls from certain numbers, I.e. The parents:)

  49. Donna G says:

    I used to work at a wireless store, and I was appalled at the very young age of the children who would come in and act as it were their right to have a fancy-dancy cell phone with data, etc. If they needed a way to contact their parents, a no-frills one should be fine, but it certainly wasn’t their favorite. Of course, there were also those young people who acted respectfully towards their parents and did not have the entitlement attitude, and they usually were not as greedy for the fancy Droids and BlackBerrys either.

    Bottom line, is, I think they should be old enough to understand the appropriate use of the technology, be it cell phones or Internet access. My mother had been a Grandma for 10 years when she was my age, and while she has a Facebook account, I do not.

  50. An ideal age for cell phones could be determined by their activity level. If they are very active in extra-curriculars, a cell phone could help them reach you when necessary so you’re not always wondering when you’re supposed to pick them up at school, dance class, baseball practice, etc. But I don’t think kids require anything more than a basic cell phone; smart-phones aren’t necessary for a 9 yr old. Some children are less active than others, and I don’t believe they need yet another reason to sit and play with their phone/tech-devices.

  51. There is so much peer pressure for kids to get cell phones, get on facebook, etc. It’s tough for parents to stand fast in the face of that!

  52. I think it is specific to your child and your situation. A lot of homes don’t have home phones anymore, so a child may need a cell phone. As for email, I don’t really see a need at a very young age, because emails are more “behind the scenes” and harder to manage.

  53. I tweeted this giveaway!

  54. My son is only 1 so it will be a while before this becomes an issue for me but I think this issue is like most – you must do what you feel is best for your child and family. When I was growing up, I got a cell phone when I got a drivers license. I had an email address a little earlier but it was monitored by my parents. I think MouseMail is a great idea and would likely use it if my child were the appropriate age.

  55. I would also like to add/remind parents to keep a close eye on their kids gaming activity. With their ability to play games with people on-line, they need to be reminded that child who says they are 12, playing a silly 12-year old type game….may not be 12. We learned this one the hard way, and as vigilant as I’ve been over the years, about everything, this gaming thing slipped by us.

  56. Facbook was designed for COLLEGE kids…therefore, in my oppinion, kids shouldn’t have one until they are at least 16 or 17…

    As for cell phones….not until you are old enough to buy it and pay for it yourself.

  57. Nelson's Mama says:

    Once my girls were old enough to stay after for school activities and dances, join sports teams, go to sleep-overs, etc., I liked the peace of mind that a cellphone gave ME. I knew they would be able to get in touch with US in case of an emergency, sometimes the ride that you’ve arranged falls through, life just happens and when it’s your child, knowing they have the ability to call is so worth that phone bill.

    My youngest has asthma and suffers from migraines; her middle school was notorious for refusing to let students use the phone – she could slip to the restroom and text me when she needed to come home.

    Technology can be a wonderful thing…

  58. Janice Cooper says:

    I don’t think young children need a cell phone. Definitely not in elementary school. I believe not until they are teenager and then it will be a pay as you go phone. I just think kids have too much going on as it is. An adding a cell phone to the mix is a definite no-no.

  59. Janice Cooper says:
  60. Debbie Bellows says:

    i wouldn’t think a child would need a cell phone until they are in 6th grade or so?

  61. Debbie Bellows says:
  62. I don’t think kids should have cell phones unless they will be going out and need to correspond with the parents. Or at 15 or so to have one with limited minutes and texting.

  63. Kristen says:

    This is a major part of my parenting right now with two teens/one pre-teen. We don’t have hard and fast rules exactly but we have total access to everything. They have phones but I do read through their text messages. The older two are on Facebook but their accounts are set up to go through our e-mail. They don’t really e-mail. I guess texting and Facebook are enough for now. Definitely a lot to manage though – nothing like when we were kids! :)

  64. I love the idea of being able to review the emails before my child has access to them, am not sure about all of the other features (games, etc). In this type of circumstance I’d rather keep it simple. E-mail made safe for kids!

  65. i haven’t thought about that yet. I just became a new mom but reading your post makes me think about it. My niece doesnt have any cellphone. She is 8 yrs old and she only did when she went on a vacation away from her parents for 1 week. I think that is only when childrne should be allowed to have cellphones of their own. Otherwise, kids can just borrow my phone for important things.

  66. I think middle school age is ok for a cell phone esp if involved in sports & other actrivities so they can check in with parents. Of course so parent can check in with them!!

  67. Raven In A Blue Room says:

    I don’t think younger kids don’t need a cell phone with all the extended features. But I would feel safer if my daughter had her own phone with just a few selected numbers allowed to dial in case of an emergency

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  68. Raven In A Blue Room says:

    I tweeted your giveaway

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  69. sherri crawford says:

    the best way for kids to be safe with technology is to encourage caution by telling them the dangers you know about and even making them aware that there may be dangers we dont yet know about but may avoid with safe practices

  70. april yedinak says:

    My tip is to keep the computer in a well trafficked area (ours is in the living room). As far as things like cell phones- I think teenage is the minimum age group for such responsibility/freedom.

  71. Georgia says:

    I found as my kids were growing up that a lot of what they did on the computer was where they were in school. School showed them most of what they knew and learned. I was not a computer person when the kids were little and there was not a lot of computers in homes then.

    gmissycat at yahoo dot com

  72. Georgia says:
  73. Ideally I would say wait until kids are at least 13 before allowing them a cellphone or email or any technology but the reality is that parents and kids are often separated for periods of time so even as young as 7 or 8 kids need to be able to keep in touch with parents- it just depends on your family situation

  74. Carolyn Clifton says:

    Great contest – hope I win!! Carolyn

  75. Susan Smith says:

    We gave our children a cell phone when they got to High school and where involved in activities when they stayed after school, they had the phone to call us. They both have email accounts but we are able to read all the emails that they get and send so we know who they are communicating with.

  76. Susan Smith says:
  77. aubreylaine says:

    I would say e-mail and cell phones can be given at 12.
    littlegray88 at yahoo dot com

  78. For email – I don’t have an ideal age in mind. I would just wait and see what comes up and set one up when it seemed like a beneficial thing (maybe a close friend moves away and they want to be able to stay in touch easily). As for cell phones, I think they need one at whatever age you allow them to be alone with their peers. Before that, they should always be with an older person who would have a phone they could use if needed. Once you allow them to hang out with peers unchaperoned (which would be a different age decision depending upon the proven maturity of that child), then they need a cell phone, especially since with our daughter, we stressed the fact that she could call us 24/7 to bail her out of any situation in which she did not feel comfortable.

  79. I think it depends on the child and the reasons for needing them. We got my oldest a cell phone when he started college, but we got our second son when he was 15 and started participating in an activity where he didn’t have access to a phone.

  80. Louise Brouillette says:

    This is a great idea for younger kids.

  81. Margaret Smith says:

    This program really sounds wonderful. We keep our computer in our family room, the room we use most often. We have spoken to our kids about not given any personal info online and we watch them very, very closely when they use the computer. Mostly they use it for games, but when they do go online to email family members, we guide them.
    Thanks so much.

  82. I personally feel like kids should not have their own facebook, email accounts, or cell phones until junior high. However, my kids are still very young, and I don’t know if my outlook will change with time.

  83. Stephanie V. says:

    They can only be on the computer downstairs with my husband and I in the room. As for texting and their smartphones, we keep them at night at check them Also friends with them on facebook to have access. My biggest concern is predators — of any type and age!
    tvollowitz at aol dot com

  84. Rebecca Graham says:

    Young children do not need a cell phone. That should be for teen years.

  85. Rebecca Graham says:
  86. T. Lawson says:

    I don’t think there is an “ideal age” to expose kids to email and cell phones. I think each child is individual and you need to assess the maturity of your child when deciding when to allow them to email and have a cell phone.

  87. Heather S says:

    I think around middle school age is the right one for email and cell. Still they need to be monitored

  88. Heather S says:
  89. Adrienne Gordon says:

    I think email is fine as young as 6, bui cell phones for personal use at 16

  90. For email, I would think a good age would be around 9 or 10…depending on the child. That’s only if they really need it though. I know sometimes their friends might not have email, and then what’s the point? As for cell phones…I didn’t get my first one until I was in high school, so really, as soon as it’s neccesarry…meaning they have a lot of activities or are away from a parent long enough to might need contact.

  91. My kids have cell phones for safety, and they know how to dial 911.. in this day and age its an extra security to me

  92. My 9YO just got his first e-mail account this summer. Didn’t seem too early for him as he’s more of a computer geek kind of kid. Right now, we have all of his messages copying to one of our other mailboxes, which seems to be working okay. Oh, what a wide, wide world the interweb is.

    Cell phone? I’d say, give the kid a cell phone whenever it makes sense for the parents for him/her to have one. (With appropriate restrictions, of course.) I think the cell phone is awesome, just awesome. You know how handy having a cell phone in high school would have been all those times I needed to get ahold of my parents after band / choir / volleyball / basketball / Spanish club / quiz team / etc.? :)

  93. Laura O says:

    I think a child should be at least 12 to have an email address.

  94. kay swederski says:

    I like the site – I helped my niece set up an account.

  95. Patrice says:

    I think that children should be monitored while using the computer. A good way to let them enjoy the computer is to find and bookmark a variety of family friendly sites and let them choose only from those sites.