02 June 2008

PC.com: Kid-safe email

PC.comFor the next couple of months, I'm contributing tips to the new computer how-to site, PC.com. I wrote my latest piece based on Jill from Atlanta's request for more info about kid-safe email. Great idea, Jill -- it was fun to research.

Go have a read: Kid-safe email

While I was working on the article, I put out the call for help to my Twitter buddies, and got some great responses. I love Twitter for they way it makes back-and-forth conversation so effortless. Thank you, JT Darby and...a couple other folks I can't recall because the Twitter archive doesn't go back that far.

If you missed my first couple of PC.com pieces, here they are:

Your comments

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I think online safety for kids/families is so important. I have a Sampa (www.sampa.com) site and I love it! It's a good way to post pictures of kids, communicate etc, but is more private than say, flickr.

Not related to email, but http://www.glubble.com/ is a handy FireFox extension for younger kids. It's basically site whitelisting with parental control and a nice UI for kids.

Also, squee, I feel famous!

Jill, aka jtdarby

I use Apple's .mac service - it allows me to create email aliases on my main account - I created an alias for my son and gave "his" address to his grandparents. The email is received by my mail program linked to my main address, but I filter his mail to his own folder, where I can ensure there is no spam/smut.

Daddy! Did I get any new mail today? I dunno! Why don't you check?

There is a third option!
You can buy a domain name

This is what I do. I have multiple mail accounts available with a hosting company, you may find the same or your current mail provider or isp allows sub accounts. There are several ways you can do this, but find an email service that is not too popular but dependable. Make an account name that is not likely to be caught by random mail addressing programs. john.smith@mail.com - wrong j0hn5m41lbox@mail.com - better.

Now find a reputable domain registering service that allows free email forwarding whilst the domain is parked. UKREG.com do this and many others. Find a domain name that suits your family or one that seems to fit. Once purchased you set up forwarders for the members of your family to their own mailboxes described earlier. When you add the redirection address, you can redirect it to more than one address eg 'j0hn5m41lbox@mail.com; m0m5m41lbox@mail.com' Then you get a copy of everything your children get. You also will only ever need one mail address to give people, but the place you collect your mail can change if needed. I probably have not explained this well but I am happy to describe it more if you wish

A

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