Friday, July 27, 2012

Cyber Caroline

Well, it's official: Caroline has her first email address!  I'd been thinking about setting her up for a while now because she loves being online, she's great at reading and writing and I know how much she enjoys communicating with other people she knows.  Then an online friend told me about Zoobuh.com.  For $12 a YEAR, your kid has an email address and you can completely control it.  I have hers set up so that she can only send and receive emails from the contact that I specify in my parent account.  Right now it's all family members but if any of my blog readers have a kid that might want an email "pen pal", let me know! (Or if you want to email with Caroline yourself.)

She absolutely LOVES it.  She writes the silliest emails and I just love getting emails from her while I am at work.  She's been writing to everyone on her contact list - aunts/uncles, grandparents, Lydia.  I don't think any of her friends have email addresses yet so that's the next step, I'm sure.

Aside from having control of her contacts, I can also read all of her emails (if needed) and change other settings.  At the age of 8, I feel like this is totally age appropriate and a great baby step in letting her play online.  It's also great practice in typing and writing emails.  At some point, obviously we'll let her have a real email and (gasp) a social network presence, but that's still several years in the future, but at the age of 9, that's not as far off as it seems.

I think the good thing is that Jason and I are very well connected and internet savvy people.  We understand the importance of your profile and online reputation so when the time comes where she wants her own internet profile, we'll be right there monitoring it.  I know that when she's a teenager she'll be interacting with her friends online and it is our job to monitor it and help her set things up so she's not publicizing every detail of her life online.  Just like it's our job to help her in real life, her online life will need our constant supervision too.  I have friends with teenagers and it's nice seeing that they are "friends" with them on Facebook and monitor what they're doing.  Being ignorant about all the things going on online is a definite way to not know what's going on with your kids now.  It's not just what they're doing with their friends when they're physically together anymore.  And I realize that there will be even more technology in coming days that we'll have to learn to keep up but I will not be the parent sitting back without a clue.

Bryce wants an email account too but I think we're going to hold off since he's just in the beginning phases of reading and can't really spell yet so setting him up would be a lot of "fun" for Jason and me.  I think I will use it as an incentive this school year to get him reading more and if he's progressing well and really trying, we'll set one up for him.  Caroline's email address makes me laugh so I wonder what Bryce will come up with.

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