If you've made the decision to allow your child access to the Internet, the last thing you want to worry about is her opening a lewd message or someone with nefarious intentions easily finding her email address. Luckily, there are some options for free email accounts that will give you the parental controls you need to protect your child.
Sites That Offer Free Email for Kids
Allowing your child access to a kid-friendly email account can let them begin to explore the internet safely. This way they can work on their online communication as well as develop their tech skills.
ZillaDog works with schools to provide free email. ZillaMail can be accessed from any web browser, is secure from spam and has full parental controls. Kids will enjoy this free email because they can change skins to customize their account. Parents will love it because it automatically blocks both profanity (even if it's used by an approved buddy) and personal information. The site even offers a free online demo. Parental controls on ZillaDog will let you:
- Create and edit a buddy list of people who are allowed to contact your child.
- Block specific email addresses.
- Set up the system so that a copy is mailed to the parent of any email sent or received.
ZillaDog offers upgrades to premium features, such as a safe chat room where your child can talk to her buddies.
Gmail With Family Link
For children 13 years old and younger, an adult can set up a Gmail account for them using the "family link." Although Gmail will ask for your credit card to verify an adult has signed up, this service is completely free. Gmail with family link is one of the best email for kids and parental control services, according to ZDnet. It includes:
- The ability to approve and block app usage.
- Set time limits and lock device use with your device.
- View and delete your child's previous online activity.
- Prevent inappropriate content from reaching your child.
Free Trial and Small Fee Email Accounts for Kids
Some sites offer free trial periods so you can test out the email account before committing to paying for services. Although these kids' email accounts require a fee, often times they come with added protective features.
ZooBuh! costs one dollar a month per account set up. They note that this is done so they can block and prevent advertisements from showing up in your child's account. Although they do not offer a free trial, they have a 30-day money-back guarantee if you and your child are not happy with their services. Zoobuh! features:
- The ability to filter out spam, bad words, and specific senders.
- Track, approve and delete incoming and outgoing emails and attachments.
- Receive email copies directly to the parent's inbox.
- Activate time allotments and temporarily stop site usage.
- Receive alerts and block predator interaction based on tip-off wording.
Tocomail offers a one-week free trial so you and your child can test out the site's features prior to committing to payments. If you end up liking the site, it costs $2.99 a month or $29.99 a year to set up a child's account. Features include:
- A quarantine box that removes questionable emails and alerts the parent with notifications.
- A drawing feature that allows kids to be creative and send artwork through their email address.
- Notifications sent to the signed up parent when an email is received by your child's account.
- A custom avatar that kids can create and interact with.
KidsEmail offers a 30 day trial period and then asks if you'd like to continue and purchase a subscription instead of charging you automatically. Subscriptions cost $38.95 for one year or $4.95 per month. This site allows up to four accounts for the monthly subscription and up to six accounts for the yearly subscription. Parents note that the account is super easy to set up. Other features include:
- The ability to set limits on the amount of time spent on the site.
- Receive copies of emails sent and received as well as block specific senders.
- An ad-free site so your child isn't exposed to any content you aren't comfortable with.
- Automatic spam filtering that you can approve of, or block your child from seeing.
Testing the Account Before Your Child Uses
Although learning how to navigate sending and receiving emails is a vital skill in today's high-tech world, keeping your child safe from online predators and disturbing content is equally important. It is a good idea to set up the account for your child with the provider of your choice and test it out for a bit when deciding on the best kids' email service. Try to email from an unapproved address and see what happens. Send a test email to Grandma and make sure she gets it. Spend some time browsing the site where the email resides. If everything works the way you want, then you can bring you child on board into an environment that has been personally tested for safety by you.