E-mail offers children a powerful tool for communicating with the outside world, including strangers.  Fortunately, many Internet parental control packages offer management of e-mail as a feature.    However, the effectiveness of e-mail  parental controls varies widely, so if managing e-mail is important to you, pay close attention when selecting an Internet parental controls package.  Important issues to consider when selecting a product:

  • Filtering of e-mail based on words is generally ineffective, so you need to decide if you want to block e-mail entirely or rely on monitoring e-mail.
  • To be truly effective, a product must be able to manage both POP3/SMTP e-mail (such as Outlook), as well as web-based e-mail.  

  Parental Controls for E-Mail Product Comparison (1 page)

  Full Parental Controls 2010 Product Guide (36 pages)

We Recommend:
Ages up to 7:       Children this age generally don’t need e-mail.
Ages 8 to 10:       A dedicated e-mail account with “white list” contact management.
Ages 11 to 13:     A dedicated e-mail account with “white list” contact management, along with monitoring.
Ages 14 to 17:     Monitoring as appropriate.

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