Communicating with friends and family is one of the best things about being online. If your kids are interested in their own email addresses, there is no need to panic. These programs provide safe email for kids. Most email options for kids make use of a "white list" which is a list of approved email addresses as determined by parents. Spam and other unwanted messages generally can't get through. *Parents should keep in mind that kids who feel that their privacy is being invaded may seek alternative free email options without your knowledge.
Pikluk is a web browser for kids
that also includes an email component. The free version includes one email address and up to 10 "allowed" addresses. Kids cannot receive email from anyone not on their white list. The member version of Pikluk ($20/yr, $30/lifetime) allows for additional email accounts and allowed addresses. A bonus of Pikluk is that kids can access it from within the browser, which can lock them out of the rest of the computer. Pikluk is only available for PC.
ZillaMail is a free email service that allows parents to set up "Buddy Lists" for their kids. Parents also have the option to send a blind carbon copy of all messages to their own account in order to track their child's activities. Additional features include filtering for language and spam as well as customizable "skins." For younger children, ZillaMail can read mail out loud.
KidsEmail is a comprehensive web-based email program that allows you to choose between a white list and a black list (block out unwanted senders). It has filters, parent controls such as time limits, parent blind carbon copies, and the ability to block out images and certain kinds of attachments. You're allowed up to 4 child accounts per adult account. A KidsEmail subscription is $4.95/month or $58.95/year.
ZooBuh is a web-based email provider with a range of features including the choice between white lists and black lists, a contact manager, parental controls, blind carbon copies to parents and customizable filters. Parents can choose to remove links, attachments and images from incoming mail. ZooBuh is $29.95 per child per year.
KidMail is an email service, much like you get from your Internet service provider. You can access KidMail email from and email program that allows POP/SMTP access such as Thunderbird, Eudora or even Gmail. Messages are kept in a quarantine folder until parents approve them. To help minimize the time this takes, the messages are ordered by priority based on familiarity with the contact and other criteria. Parents can then delete the message or allow it to be delivered. This is a nice option for parents who want a lot of control over their kids' email access. FYI, KidMail sends an authentication message to anyone who sends a message that is not in your child's contact list. KidMail service is $7.95/month, $9.95/quarter, $29.95/year.