For my daughter’s 9th birthday present, her father and I bought her an MacBook Air. She needs a computer for school. She hasn’t actually USED it for school purposes yet, but she has been using it for e-mail.
I think everyone who is about to have a baby should sign up for their children to have their own e-mail account, especially if you’re naming your son John or Emily (or any other forever popular name.) And, especially, if your last name is Smith or a very common last name.
I actually got my daughter her first own e-mail account when she was about six weeks old. I was one of those super cute (or super annoying) mothers that STFU Parents make fun of. I would send out e-mails, from my 6-week-old daughter’s account, to her grandparents or her father, writing things like, “I love my mommy so much. Today I had a 4-hour nap. I really like to drool.” That phase of e-mailing for my baby daughter lasted a whole two weeks, before the novelty wore off and I completely forgot her password.
Fast forward nine years, and I set up her very own Gmail account for her. Luckily, her name wasn’t taken, so people receiving e-mails from her know right away who they are getting it from. She has seven people on her e-mail list. Me, her father, her grandparents on both sides, and my fiancé’s mother.
My daughter loves e-mailing so much that I got a call from my fiancé’s mother one morning saying, “Your daughter is e-mailing me all the time. Did you know that?”
Um, I did not know that. I figured since I do know exactly who she e-mails, I wouldn’t have to worry about what she e-mails or how often.
My poor fiancé’s mother, when I checked my daughter’s e-mail, had a good back and forth with my daughter about 20 times, with my daughter asking such pressing questions like, “What’s your favorite animal? What’s your favorite color? What’s your favorite kind of tree?”
But e-mailing is great, especially when you are divorced.
For the longest time, I had to make sure she was calling her father and his parents every single day, because we are on good terms with them, but also because I was the middle person. Now my daughter can just e-mail them directly. I think they like that don’t have to go through me every time they want an update on her life. They can get updates from her every evening when she logs on. They may not exactly understand what she’s writing (her spelling is appalling) but they’ll get the gist of it.
Many of my daughter’s 9-year-old friends have their own e-mail accounts with addresses that show what they’re into. One of her friends, for example, is really into dragons. So her e-mail is her name with “dragon” attached to it. But I still like the fact that my daughter has her OWN name for her e-mail address.
One of my daughter’s first e-mail exchanges with me happened when I was out for dinner. She wrote, “Mommy, I miss you. When are you coming home?” I wrote back, immediately, “GO TO BED!” She wrote back instantly, “OK!”
E-mail is another way of yelling at your kids without actually having to yell at them.
I can also send her sweet notes, which she loves getting from me. At this age, e-mail is fun.
To all those parents who may not agree with kids having their own e-mail accounts, I say get with the program. The world is going online and if you don’t move quick enough, you won’t get your child their own name for an e-mail address. (And, yes, if you’re wondering, I know all her login passwords, so I can keep tabs.) So get with it. The world is only growing and, like signing your kid up to the school of your choice while they are still in the womb, you better sign them up, in the womb, for their own account. And, hey, there’s something so freeing about saying to her friends, “E-mail Rowan directly if you have questions about what she ate for dinner. Stop clogging up my e-mail!”
Sorry everyone on my daughter’s email list, you ARE going to hear about what she ate for dinner and you probably will be asked what your favorite number is. But at least you’ll instantly know who it’s coming from.