How young is too young to have an email?

(Cross posted on myportfolio.)

In New Zealand 18 years old is the ages to enter into a legal contract

Here you can read the legal age in New Zealand for a variety of activities.

Youth is classed as 14- 18 and parents can sign a legal contract on their behalf.  But what happens if the children are younger? have been reading around the legalities for nearly a year. The above document highlights the importance of monitoring all online activity when children are involved.

I have been using Superclubsplus with children for 18 months now and am continuously astounded at the amount of activity taking place. I like Superclubsplus because as an educator I like knowing that I am not alone in monitoring my children online. Someone else is there too and the system monitoring activity is continuously evolving and adapting with our online users.

In New Zealand the secondary schools are advised to have robust systems in place when using the internet for teaching and learning.

WebsafetyNZ writes about the morals of children under 13 lying to use social media tools. Yet we teach children not to share too much personal information about themselves.

From ACMA Australia, this clip has a section regarding cyberbullying and also has data about Social Media under age users. The numbers are challenging in that we underestimate what under 13 year olds do online with or without parental permission.

I use this statement as a framework for working with teachers and children. Web safety comes first when using the internet for teaching and learning.

USA has COPPA for under 13 year olds. COPPA stands for ‘The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.’ Read all about what that means when working with children online.

In New Zealand – we do not yet have anything like COPPA  in place.

Until this changes then New Zealand follows the legal binding contract between 2 parties or a signed parental agreement for youth. 14-18.

Under 14- the area is still grey.

Hence how can it stand up in court if anything goes wrong?

One statement I continually make is just because we can – does it mean we should? I read with interest the changes that have taken place even in Googles Terms of Agreement regarding Google APPS for Education. This agreement is outside their Terms of Agreement with the general public. Therfore schools would be signing a separate agreement with google, and their parents signing a separate agreement allowing their children to use the APPS available for education.

Those of us teaching in the under 13 age group when do you think is a good age for children to have their own email account and how much freedom do you think they should have? That is a question I still cannot answer. Our children have a locked down email on SCP. It is so locked down that they are not allowed to use it to contact parents as most parents have not been police vetted. They can only use it in a walled environment to communicate with children or teachers from their own schools.

Finally, we continuously focus on what we do with our children. But how many of us are in schools where all teachers know what google docs and apps are and even more exciting – how many of them use docs and apps for teaching and learning? How many schools run teacher cybersafety training alongside their other professional learning?

Reflecting using SOLO taxonomy, my thinking is still at multistructural as my learning in this area is still new and most of what I have is a list of websites as I have been reading around the subject of children and the internet. I am just starting to make links with other educators in my ideas.

I welcome any comments and any further information that other educators have on the subject about teachers and children using the internet for teaching and learning.