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Good Email For Kids? 489

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the think-of-the-children dept.
mgessner writes "My kids are starting to want email accounts of their own. Even though gmail does a pretty good job of filtering spam, it's not perfect. Searching the web the other day for kid-safe email, I found a few sites that say they can do the job. What do others do for their kids' email? Pay for it? Just use a free service like gmail or yahoo? I don't pay for email accounts out of my own pocket, so I don't really see the need, but if the cost was a few bucks a month, I'd do it."
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Good Email For Kids?

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  • by stefankoegl (687410) <stefan&skoegl,net> on Friday September 26, 2008 @01:45PM (#25168599) Homepage
    You probably won't find a service with better spam filtering than Gmail, so what's the problem with it?
    • by Eg0Death (1282452) * on Friday September 26, 2008 @01:48PM (#25168645)
      The OP probably wants to prevent his kids from viewing the contents of the Spam folder. I know I'm not ready to explain to my 5 year old what a message about "H0t Yung $luts ReadY 2 Suk C0K" is really all about.
      • by fluch (126140) on Friday September 26, 2008 @01:59PM (#25168813)

        Then don't let them have an e-mail account. There is no perfect spam filter ... except you filter it by your own. Another question, why does an 5 year old need to have an own e-mail account by itself??

        • by orclevegam (940336) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:09PM (#25168987) Journal
          The solution is whitelisting. Give them an e-mail account with G-Mail, then proxy it through a local mail handler that you have a whitelisting filter configured on. Any address not on the white list gets deleted. Problem solved.
          • by Otto (17870) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:33PM (#25169379) Homepage Journal

            Which is another reason not to use GMail for this. You cannot auto delete anything in GMail, only send it to the trash.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Pontiac (135778)

              That's what the proxy is for..
              Anything not white listed never gets to Gmail..

              • by orclevegam (940336) on Friday September 26, 2008 @05:18PM (#25171707) Journal
                Correct, but you have it backwards. The proxy sits in between the child and gmail. The proxy will poll the gmail inbox periodically (via either POP3 or SMTP), then apply the whitelist to those results. Anything that passes that then gets put in the proxy inbox. The child then connects with whatever client to the proxy to retrieve his/her e-mail. As a bonus you can apply other forms of filtering to the e-mail at the same time you perform the whitelisting. For a really great write up of how to setup filtering, read this [acme.com].
          • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:56PM (#25169813) Homepage

            I think any e-mail solution for kids should be done with whitelisting. Not just for filtering out spam, but because there's no reason that anyone you don't know should be e-mailing your kids.

          • by Culture20 (968837) on Friday September 26, 2008 @03:13PM (#25170103)
            So when grandma's email address is in the from-field for some porn spam that gets past gmail filters?
            The spammers will get into the inbox. You need to be there too if you want to make sure your kids learn the appropriate response to spam.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              You need to be there too if you want to make sure your kids learn the appropriate response to spam.

              Ahh, the low-tech solution. Or, as I prefer to call it, good parenting.

              Bravo.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by kramer2718 (598033)

            This is a good idea...

            However, if you aren't fond of the idea of whitelisting (which would mean that you would be the keeper of your kids address book), then I would suggest you think a bit about the addresses that they use.

            This slashdot article [slashdot.org] discusses some ways to form less spammed email addresses.

            Of course, whitelisting techniques are the only ways to filter all spam. Other techniques will let some through. I would personally suggest that education is the most important component if your kids are us

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by diersing (679767)
          A 5 year old is a bad example because those without kids will use such an argument so lets say their 7, or 9, or 12, or whatever age your child comes to you and asks for something you don't think they need or are ready for. In my case, my 9 year old son is home schooled. He's been running Ubutnu for several years and is more tech savvy then any of his grandparents.

          Anywho, he's asked for an email address because some of the content on the disney.com, nick.com, and cartoonnetwork.com require registration

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TekPolitik (147802)

          Then don't let them have an e-mail account. There is no perfect spam filter ... except you filter it by your own.

          One solution offers the answer to both of these problems. Maia Mailguard [maiamailguard.com]. I'm a huge fan of that project and it is, in my opinion, the single most underpromoted open source app out there. It should be on every sys admin's (at least) radar.

          With Mailguard you can set up customised filtering levels (based on spamassassin score). Want manual spam filtering for somebody's account? Set up two email a

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ypctx (1324269)
      Exactly.. Plus I'd probably set an incoming rule for the kids' account to auto-delete the spam as it comes in.
      • by iworm (132527)

        And with Gmail, much as I love it, there's no feasible way to auto-delete spam. I've asked for the very same feature myself, but Gmail confirm that (currently) you cannot auto-delete spam.

    • by gravis777 (123605) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:39PM (#25169491)

      Look, the problem here seems to be that the guy wants an e-mail company to do his (the parents' job). I totally agree, get them a free Gmail account (I RARELY have spam get through - maybe once every couple of months), and then police their e-mail accounts. They are YOUR kids, it is YOUR job to keep them safe, not the responsibility of the e-mail provider.

      Now, I do have a bit of a tradeoff when I police the kid's myspace and stuff. They can have it, but I want access to it, otherwise they do not have one at all (they do not even get on the computer). The tradeoff is - if I know who your friends are, and I trust them, I won't dig through your mail. You can have your privacy. But if you are an underage girl, and have several older guys (even if they are minors) on your friends list, then we have a talk.

      So, yeah, setup an e-mail account for them. You can set it up with whitelist only options. Go through their accounts if you have to, and if you see something in there you don't like or someone you don't know, read it or delete it. As the kids get older, and show you they are responsible, you start looking over their sholder less, until one day, you don't need to. But for the love of God, don't give a seven-year-old an e-mail account, never look into it, and expect a provider to filter everything for you. 15-year-old, a bit of a differnet story.

      • by Tanktalus (794810) on Friday September 26, 2008 @03:32PM (#25170327) Journal

        "[I]t is YOUR job to keep them safe, not the responsibility of the e-mail provider."

        So, looking for technological tools to help you accomplish a task you're given (or that you've volunteered for or been volunteered for, whatever) is suddenly verbotten? Look, the OP isn't looking to force you to use any particular email provider, he's doing some work in looking for such a provider for himself. And if there already is a good choice out there, why not take the short-cut and use it instead of re-inventing the wheel?

        It's not as if he's asking for all email providers to provide such service, thereby denying you the choice to get your porn spam. Just a shortcut.

        Seriously, the answers here have given me a few good ideas on eventually giving my daughter an email account - but I have a domain, and can thus put something into postfix's queue to actually enforce a whitelist on the way in. But it *would* be nice to have a good solution already available.

  • Sigh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Inf0phreak (627499) on Friday September 26, 2008 @01:48PM (#25168641)
    You can't kid-proof your email. You can only hope to email-proof your kids.

    That should be a fairly simple conclusion from the fact that (almost) anyone anywhere in the world can send email to any email address.

    • by RingDev (879105)

      Ehh, you can white-list their email accounts so that only friends and family can get through to them. Easy enough to do through Hotmail, I would assume that gMail has similar functionality.

      -Rick

    • No, you can't kid-proof your email, but you can make it better than the default at least. A determined kid will be able to get around anything you put in place, what the poster is trying to do is make sure that their child has to seek it out instead of getting it through normal behavior. Just because it's not 100% effective doesn't mean it shouldn't be used.
  • by AnswerIs42 (622520) on Friday September 26, 2008 @01:48PM (#25168647) Homepage
    You turned out OK, didn't you?

    People anymore are so paranoid about everything anymore, it is a wonder society can even function. If you are THAT worried about it, then DON'T get them an email address.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You people anymore!
    • by Abreu (173023)

      Yes, but every parent wants their kids to turn out BETTER.

      Of course, this often results in bumbling parents making roughly the same amount of mistakes their parents made, only different.

    • by Paralizer (792155) on Friday September 26, 2008 @01:58PM (#25168807) Homepage
      Maybe you are too young to realize this, but there was a time when this thing called the internet and email didn't exist, and it wasn't that long ago...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Halo1 (136547)

        Maybe you are too young to realize this, but there was a time when this thing called the internet and email didn't exist, and it wasn't that long ago...

        And before that there was time when there wasn't tv to corrupt the kids. And before that there was a time when weren't any "bad" magazines. Every generation has its own new "evils" which didn't exist when they were young and from which they think they need to protect their kids.

        • by Migraineman (632203) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:36PM (#25169439)
          Funny, I don't recall dozens of those "bad" magazines stuffing themselves into my mailbox (yes, the ancient metal one outside.) I don't recall the telephone (wired to the wall, of course) ringing night-and-day with offers for "enhancement" medications. Yes, direct-mail advertisements and cold-calling have existed since the respective media popped up. However, today's spammers aren't subject to the cost pressures of making a ten thousand long-distance telephone calls. They subscribe to a predatory cost-shifted scorched-earth structure that considers you (and your kids) to be necessary collateral damage. These douchebags have no respect for anyone else, and yes, we need to protect our kids from them.
    • by qoncept (599709)
      A flak vest doesn't protect its user 100%, but it improves their odds. What's so ridiculous about trying to find something to reduce the amount of filth your child sees?
      • So, you're advocating putting flak vests on our kids, so we can improve their odds? After all, anything to keep them safe!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Eg0Death (1282452) *
      I didn't have email and the intratubes when I was kid! We had to go pick up the phone and use the rotary dial! Now get off my lawn!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Ummm...

      Unless the OP is really young, his parents did not have to grapple with this issue. My first child is still a baby, and when I was old enough to know what a computer was, spam was definitely still canned meat.

      OP is not exhibiting paranoia--he didn't say "Oh god! Fear the internet!" He's looking for a reasonable solution to a real problem that doesn't have a long history of solutions.

      As for a solution, I agree with those who say auto-delete the spam and supervise email use for a few years.

    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      I hate to point the obvious, but I kind of doubt the guy's father created him an e-mail account when he was 12.

      This being said, he should just create them a Gmail account and be prepared to answer to such questions as "Daddy, what's Vi4gR4?" or "Why do all these people write to me in gobbledegook?" or even "Can you lend me $29,000? That's for a friend in Nigeria.."

  • How old are they? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Friday September 26, 2008 @01:48PM (#25168653) Homepage

    My wife and I are just at the point where we're talking about kids, but I think what we'd do is not allow them to have an email account until we felt they were old enough to understand what porn is and why we don't want them looking at it. That way, you can expect them to push porn spam into the spam filter, and ground them if you catch them seriously looking at it. Before then, I just don't see a good reason. I wouldn't give my kids an email account until they're at least 10 years old, if I were in your position.

    Call that what you will, but it's a good and easy way of being responsible.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Freeside1 (1140901)
      I think that parents encouraging their children to look at porn would be a decent deterrent.
      The last thing I want to think about when I'm "seriously" looking at porn is my parents encouraging me.
    • Re:How old are they? (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheModelEskimo (968202) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:33PM (#25169395)
      Totally agree. Most of my friends with kids have one email address that the whole family uses. "jonesfamily@blah.com" seems a little uncool to kids, so I've seen the *family stuff replaced with things like "packofwolves" or other creative ideas.
  • by MobileMrX (855797) on Friday September 26, 2008 @01:49PM (#25168655)

    I'd recommend looking for a service based on a whitelist rather than a service with great spam filtering. This will help you two ways:

    1) Probably no spam
    2) You can actively monitor and controlwho your children get email from (which is OK, these are children not adults!)

  • Check with your ISP. My service lets me have multiple email accounts and as the account owner, I can read the messages in the other email accounts.
  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Friday September 26, 2008 @01:51PM (#25168685)
    I would NOT pay for any email service. If anything I'd say use gmail or yahoo or something free. But ... I would say no matter how hard they whine, they do not need an email account until perhaps junior high years or so (getting a job age, getting a drivers license age, somewhere in between). Instead if they're little and still in elementary school, I am just letting them use "mom & dad's" email account to email relatives or receive emails from friends, etc. That way I can filter what was sent and received. Kids that young do not need their own email account.
    • I had an email account when we first got internet (local ISP started by the local newspaper, which eventually got bought out by mindspring, which eventually got bought out by earthlink). I think I was maybe 10 or 11.

      It was the beginning of widespread public internet access, and I was the first kid on my block with it. I don't recall who I traded emails with back then - I was on 3DRealms' bbs a lot though. And then came WBS.net, and made some friends through there. I think my first introduction to porn came

  • Try looking at Motorola? http://www.good.com/ [good.com]

  • Zoobuh (Score:2, Informative)

    by isBandGeek() (1369017)
    If you have the passwords to their email accounts, you can monitor what they do, and that's completely free, obviously. But if you want to filter incoming messages, a quick Google search turns up Zoobuh [zoobuh.com], and there didn't seem to be negative feedback about it when I tried another Google search [google.com]. The website says it costs $1/month/child.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by navels (543508)
      We've been using Zoobuh for several years and are very satisfied. It has an easy interface for the kids and you can set up a whitelist for incoming and outgoing email.
  • You can get your own domain name and an unlimited email plan for a few bucks a month from hundreds of highly reputable hosting companies. And make sure you have access to their email and check it regularly.
  • Worry about IM! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dcobbler (553566) on Friday September 26, 2008 @01:55PM (#25168747) Homepage
    My 12-yr-old has an email under our ISP account that I can monitor and it barely matters. Email is what her Mum & Dad use. Instead, she's obsessed with IM ("MSN" is what she calls it), facebook & MySpace. *That's* what keeps me awake at night.

    Cheers,
    DCobbler
  • by Tx (96709)

    Do you filter their web access as well? Otherwise just face the fact that once they're online, they're probably going to see some shit you'd rather they didn't see once in a while, live with it.

    Best you can do is sign up to something like FastMail [fastmail.fm], jack up the spam filtering to aggressive or whitelist-only (bit nazi, but if you really want control...).

  • by mcrbids (148650) on Friday September 26, 2008 @01:58PM (#25168799) Journal

    What, exactly, are you trying to protect your kids from?

    The natural tendency to make the world this warm, safe, fuzzy place for our children cannot be refuted. If we didn't look out for the basic well being of our infants, our survival as a species would be highly threatened.

    But, I think that we as a society are suffering from over-protectionism. We take this natural urge too far. In order to learn that actions have consequences, they need to make some mistakes. Letting your child get a minor burn their hand on the stove when they are young prevents them from major burns later on. Letting your children make a few dumb mistakes when they are young and suffering the consequences results in mature, capable young adults.

    But we aren't letting our youth make mistakes. When they do a few dumb things, we pass laws that say that you can do X until a later age. You can't drink until you are 21, and enforcement of these laws has result in a host of 21 year olds that are unable to deal responsibly with alcohol - the number of alcohol poisonings at the local college has been rising year after year.

    And the response? "Don't let them drink 'till they are 25!". Not that this solves anything, because somehow the drinking age is just 16 in Germany and they don't seem to be having the problems with alcohol that we're having.

    If you want kids that will grow up capable of handling the real world, you gotta give them a good taste of the real world so that they can work it through. If you want them to deal with sex responsibly, you have to let them see what sex is and does and what the consequences are of it. Don't hide them from hookers, let them see the real damage that prostitution does to marriages and families of those who engage with prostitutes. Let them see it for what it really is, rather than leaving them free to romanticize due to lack of information.

    Sure, get a decent email host, with decent spam protection - that's just self respect. But don't think that if they see a picture of a penis pump, that they'll be ruined forever. Just answer their questions clinically and accurately, and trust that they can figure it out.

    Remember, that kids tend to live up to your real expectations. If you expect them to be able to handle (for real) then they most likely will do just fine. And then, as adults, they'll be that much better equipped to handle all of reality.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Eg0Death (1282452) *
      "But dear, I was just showing our young son what a prostitute is. If I don't show him, how will he know when he does find one?"
    • by Bretski (312912) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:12PM (#25169015)

      I understand your point of view. I plan to talk to my kids about sex and treat is as a "normal" part of our existence. However do you see a difference in these two things:

      1) Factual, non-taboo discussions about sex, relationships, and even nudity.

      2) Porn spam in their inbox, showing nearly gynecological views of women "ready to make you shoot your load" or "watch me get it on with a horse".

      I really don't want my 5-year old kids exposed to this level of graphic imagery. Call me crazy. Everything I've read on the matter does indicate it can have a somewhat disproportionate affect on them in later life.

    • you can also underprotect

      the balance is a gray area that a lot of people have a lot of different opinions on. but there are some clear and obvious areas of society you do not want your kids exposed to

      especially with regards to sex, because there are adults out there who will prey on children for sex

      this is not overprotectionism, this is not hysteria, this is not fear. this is a real and valid concern: predators who will sexually abuse children. they exist, and they are not rare

      and if you in any way belittle

  • E-mail? Don't kids these days content themselves with MySpace mails and Facebook mails?
  • using a service that can forward your email to a client. So you have
    1. service's spam filter
    2. spam filter on the client you customize
    3. set it to auto-delete the spam if you are that paranoid

    Seems cut and dry to me. Unless your kid is crafty enough to bypass your preventative measures, then the point is moot.

  • What about (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:02PM (#25168863)

    If you used something like Gmail, but "filtered" it again through yourself to make sure nothing unwanted gets through. Say, you setup the kids Gmail, but do not tell them the password or how to get on it via the web, and just set them up a Pop3 client on the computer that will get the mail for them. I think GMail will let you pop in? I do this on my Verizon phone anyway so I assume it's possible, and I don't see my spam folder stuff come down that way. Perhaps in combination with some security on the OS front on your home PC (kids can't log in without getting you, can only use it at certain times, etc) you would have ample time to review what they're getting in their GMail, kill what you don't want to get to them, then allow them to "check their email" via the pop client and (hopefully) still allow them to have at least the feeling of freedom that comes with checking their email and such.

  • Whitelist services (Score:2, Informative)

    by kiehlster (844523)
    I didn't see mention of whitelist email services like Bluebottle [bluebottle.com] where users choose who they want to accept email from rather than swinging the gates open and filtering out the junk.
  • GMail Spam (Score:2, Informative)

    by Carewolf (581105)

    GMail is not pretty good at sorting spam, it is the worst I've ever seen. Not only does it let tens of spam-emails through every day, it randomly tags one non-spam mail as spam every week. My former spamassassin only let 1-2 spams through a week, and false positives was limited to 1-2 per year. Compared to spamassassin; GMail is horrible. How can it be that bad, when it can compare so many emails and just check for duplicates????

  • by jesdynf (42915) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:07PM (#25168951) Homepage

    ... since your children will interpret censorship as damage and route around you. As soon as you make a decision they don't agree with, they'll be at Google registering their /real/ account...

    And right after that, they'll learn to keep a slow flow of garbage to it they won't mind you catching, and then they'll learn compartmentalization, and by the time it gets far enough where you get suspicious, they'll already have so much damning evidence in their second account that they won't hesitate to lie to you about its existence, rationalizing it as being no worse than having indirectly lied to you these last few months, and...

    Hmm. You know what? I wouldn't give them an email account. There's no way your expectation of control will match their expectation of privacy -- and for the purposes of this debate, I don't care what rights the parent has or has not, it's what the child expects that's important. If you want to teach your kids to lie to you, by all means, manage their email account. We've already got an industry trying to make a common good scarce and using fear tactics and hamfisted legislation; if you want your children to regard you with the same warm affection we give the RIAA, this is definitely the way to go about it.

    Let them register an email account on their own. It's perfectly reasonable to reserve the right to extract the password from them, by force if neccesary -- but they should expect you won't do that unless you feel it's worth what it'll cost you. If you constantly snoop, you'll be snooping garbage inside a week.

  • What's the point of cushionning young eyes from the reality of life? You think your kids do not have it in them to cope with life? if it's the case you'll be considered an old fart sooner than you think.

  • My 2 cents. (Score:2, Informative)

    I have 3 girls, one who's 18 now, so she's old enough to handle herself as she's going into IT anyway. But my 2 youngest (12 and 9) aren't. My 9yo doesn't have an email account yet, mainly because anything she needs me or my wife will handle. My 12yo however, is another matter. In this case, setup Gmail (or hotmail or whatever, I do prefer Gmail's filters, though) to ONLY allow email from people listed in contacts.

    That way anything else gets dropped.

  • I can see how this thread is turning out - so all I will say is that its a lot better to educate your kids how to deal with situations, rather than banning them from from getting into those situations. Blanket bans with no explanation will only increase a child's curiosity and lessen their ability to deal with what they find.
  • Hmm, for a few bucks month you can run your own mail server. Citadel http://www.citadel.org/ [citadel.org] installs in about 20 minutes and is zero maintenance. There is no easier email system on the planet and it Just Works (TM).
  • Get a Wii (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MagicM (85041) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:25PM (#25169249)

    Probably not what you're looking for, but one option is to get them a Wii. Each Wii has an associated email address of w[friend code]@wii.com, and you have to whitelist any addresses on the Wii that you want to be able to receive email from. Spam-proof, "child-safe", and you can play bowling on it!

  • by mjm1231 (751545) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:28PM (#25169289)

    My daughter had an email address with bluebottle.com, which worked perfectly for the 2 or 3 years she was using it. They use a whitelist-only type system which requires new incoming email addresses to reply to an authorization email before their messages will be delivered. When they discontinued the free service, we did not sign up again, but it's probably worth the 10 bucks a year. Now that she is in middle school, she is more interested in using IM services and rarely uses email anyway.

    As for the internet not being safe for kids, I've never really found it to be an issue. The kids learn by example and osmosis to behave responsibly. Up to a certain age, we always made sure a parent was around when they were on the net. In the dozen or so years of having internet in the house, the worst incident I can recall was one of my sons searching for she-hulk images and finding a naked drawing in the results. Big deal. He's in college now, and if he wants to find naked she-hulk pictures, at least he knows how to find them.

  • I have 3 kids under 8. When they are old enough to read (or starting to), I give them an email account to practice reading and writing.

    My solution requires:

    • My own domain
    • A host that offers Postini filtering
    • Mail.app on Mac OS X (other clients will probably work. This is what I use)

    First, I setup a mail account for each kid. I'll use family.com as the example. The account for each kid is their first and middle names (jilljane@family.com). Then I setup a mailing list at jill@family.com, and deliver that mail to her account and to my wife and I. Nazi style.

    Next, I setup the mailing list names with a postini mailbox. I was running without this for a while, but one of my kids leaked their address to an email marketing firm and the spam started pouring in.

    Next, I setup Mail.app. I turn on parental controls, and have all inbound messages request permission from me to land in the kid's mailbox. This way nobody gets in unless I explicitly say it's OK. I setup her client account to return jill@family.com as the identity email address, so replies to any message she sends automatically copy me. No one even knows the jilljane@family.com address exists (except me).

    The last step probably won't work for older kids, but I have Mail.app default jill@family.com as a BCC address for any message she sends. This gets me and mom copied on her outbound mail. If she ever figures it out, she could delete that from the BCC field, but so far so good. It also means that I have to manage my own mailbox a little bit. I setup a couple of rules that look for jill@family.com and route that into it's own IMAP folder, just for tidiness.

    If you are interested in finding a reasonable host for your own domain with IMAP and Postini support, I strongly recommend BlueHost [bloehost.com]. Just finished switching over to them, and they have been great.

  • Just teach them (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Friday September 26, 2008 @03:58PM (#25170683)

    Why are you trying to shelter your kids from spam? How old are they? People keep saying "5 year old kids shouldn't have such and such", but there's no age given.

    If your child is old enough (which is some age less than 15 but more than 10):

    Kids are eventually going to see spam and you need to teach them how to handle it. I have the same argument about trying to filter your kid's internet access. They're going to find it anyway, either get around the filter, or to go a friend's house, or whatever.

    The solution to children seeing porn online is to teach them about sex. The key is that they know the difference between sex in real life and porn. That sex is something you should have when you're ready, and that porn is something done for completley different reasons than sex. It's stupid to expect that children will never see porn, and to believe that your children will never be exposed to it is ignorant, you need to teach them how to handle it properly.

    Likewise, teach them that spam is all garbage. It's stupid and ignorant to believe that kids are never going to see spam. Honestly, it's not that big of a problem though, it's just like junk mail, it's not some horrible moral dilemma.

    However if you're kids are too young to see "increase penis size" in emails then they're too young to see the viagra commercials on TV, and they're too young to allow to use the internet.

  • by javab0y (708376) on Friday September 26, 2008 @03:58PM (#25170689)

    I just went through the same thing as you in that my children as they are learning to read and write, are wanting their own email accounts. At the same time, I have found GMail to be quite good at trapping spam, the spam does end up going into the spam folder, and much of it is not the type of email I want my children to see (pr0n, member enlargement schemes, pharmaceutical recommendations).

    Since GMail is one of the best around, I recommend you use that with Postini [postini.com], which just so happens to be another Google company. Postini is a pretty good spam filter that you point your MX records to and it filters your emails and sends it on to your email provider. It costs just $3.00, per year, and I still have yet to get any offensive emails that I would not want my children to receive. I have to say that my gmail spam box is mostly empty. The nice thing here is that you can monitor a spam inbox on Postini that your children will never see, and you can ultimately decide what can and cannot go through to their GMail account.

  • by TehZorroness (1104427) on Friday September 26, 2008 @11:05PM (#25174437)

    Don't bubble your children. Teach them about the REAL world. Currently 17, I've been lucky to be granted home internet access for around 10 years now (remember the good ol' days of AOL 4.0 :D). Throughout the whole time, my connection has never been filtered, monitored, or logged. Over the time, I have visited sites that many parents would not want their children visiting, but as a result, I have learned.

    Every 13 year old boy has a burning curiosity about the opposite sex. A little bit of porn never hurt anyone. Moving on, I have a very strong feeling that the teachings of DARE (drug avoidance class tought in public school via typical propaganda) and sex ed. (here in the US, complete abstinance is all they teach in school. By law.) gloss over a few very important facts and don't provide an accurate understanding. Through the uncensored internet, I was able to research these subjects farther, through unbiased sources, and make better decisions as a result.

    I have done research into political ideologies that many people don't understand or just consider to be evil. Instead of just calling communism or facisim evil, I have a more complete understanding of them and have my own views about where they succeed and where they fail. I can also detect when these ideologies effect our own precious capitalist state (which unfortunately isn't a very ideal implementation of capitalism anymore)

    Through many of the darker memes of the internet (goatsetubgirldetroithardcore2girls1cupbmepainolimpics, stereotyped memes, and the darkest depths of /b/) I have learned to be much more laid back. I am no longer homophobic (though strait) and I find incredible pleasure in goatseing homophobes. The penis is a body part. Get over it. I understand steriotypes. They exist because they are true, but I understand they do not apply to everyone - everyone is unique. It is easy to separate the black people with no interest in education who play with their $350 phones all day from the black people who live in the real world. I strongly dislike the former (call me a racist), but associate with plenty of the ladder. As an individual, you can't complain about steriotypes when you prove it true yourself.

    That rant went off topic and covered a bunch of bases. Thinking about it though, it all comes back to where I started. I am who I am because my outlet to information was never blocked, cencored, or distorted. I think I am better off as a result.

    • by cheros (223479)

      Apart from the possibly biased conclusion (just winding you up, relax) I agree with you 100%

      Two main arguments:

      1 - my job as a parent is to ensure my kid can exist in this world. That means building awareness of right and wrong (moral compass), respect for others (instead of being politically correct) and developing his senses for where danger may lie and what to do about it.

      2 - I'm not always around (neither is any other parent). Choose your preference: the kid standing a chance on his own because he kno

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