A 4-Year-Old Is Too Young to Email


As we get further and further addicted to technology, our children are often coming along for the ride. I know very few 4-year-olds whose parents who have an iPhone who cannot already use their tiny fingers to manipulate and navigate the screen. My daughter has been using my iPhone adeptly since she was 2 and now her almost 3-year-old brother is doing the same.

My daughter also plays computer games and is able to type, and I am supportive of most of these things, but when it comes to email, I have to draw the line. Recently Miss Manners was asked about a 4-year-old who was learning to read and write and who had an email account. What seemed like a benign question about manners and not wanting to receive email from a 4-year-old was actually a bit more complicated.

Should a 4-year-old have an email address at all?

In a word: No. A 4-year-old should be reading and playing and practicing writing their letters by hand. I wrote a check the other day and felt that I had nearly forgotten how to use a pen because I spend so much time on the computer. It's imperative that children still get these skills, so why the rush to typing?

Personally, I am thrilled by my daughter learning to write and less thrilled by her learning to type. It seems like she needs both. So, yes, a 4-year-old is too young to be emailing.

I could see having a highly monitored email account for her when she is 6 or 7. Maybe. But at 4, she is still learning the basics. She will likely spend the great majority of her life in front of a computer (unless she has some other kind of job), so I am in no hurry to shove her in front of one any time soon.

Once she has the basics of reading and writing down and has people she wants to email, maybe even a friend or two who has one of their own, we can revisit it. Until then, if you want to talk to my daughter, call me or email me. I will make sure she sees it!

Do you think a 4-year-old is too young to email?

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Lovin... LovingKentucky

Oh goodness, 4 is way too young to have their own email address.  Let kids be kids without technology for awhile!

Gwen Lewis Ingram

No, absolutely not. My children are 5 and 8 and have both had email accounts for about a year. They email their father when he is out of town for work. They email their Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Grandparents who live in another state. They do most of their emailing from their iPods. They also use the face chat feature to talk to their dad and other friends and family members who are far away. They are digital natives and we embrace technology.  They also camp regularly, swim every day, play different sports, participate in karate, paint and draw and read daily. 

GlowW... GlowWorm889

Actually, I can see where a child learning to write and writing e-mails would be helpful. So many kids hate to write because learning to write with a pencil and paper is laborious and well, boring. Therefore, writing becomes laborious and boring. And frankly, so much is done on computers these days that schools are reconsidering whether handwriting practice is really that important anymore. Not to mention our world will one day become 100% digital, so getting these skills down as a young child is imperative. I see no harm in letting a 4-year-old have their own e-mail account, so long as Mom and Dad log in first to get rid of any innapropriate spam messages and that the computer time is supervised. How is writing an e-mail any different from sending a letter?

I'd rather have my child love to write (as I do), type, and have bad handwriting than hate writing, not feel comfortable in his/her typing skills, and have awesome handwriting.

Sherr... SherriPie

I think a 4-year-old doesn't need their own email if they can't read or write.  I can see using it with a parent to write emails, but not their own.

momka... momkaribg

My son plays on my computer but no way would I allow a email address. He had to take typing in k and I think that's a little early to start.

KamiB79 KamiB79

4 year old are way to small for email!

allie... alliesmom112

A 4 year old is way too youbg for their own email. I do allow my almost 3 year to use my smart phone and even send pictures to her dad but I feel like she should be learning how to write her AbCs before she types them

mommy... mommythree0508

I don't see the problem.My daughter had one and felt like a big girl when I hrlped her send messages under her name to family

Mom2j... Mom2jngnc

I don't think they need their own email address. My 11 yr old wrote many emails to his Godmother from my email address when he was younger.... usually by starting with "Aunt T, It's Garrett"

newmo... newmom2bgtwins

I think if my 4 year olds wants to type, more power to them! Like you said, in their life they will spend majority of their time in front of a computer, so the earliest they learn to type (and type well) the better and just like writing, you need practice. Learn the basics and then learn to get faster, so a couple of times a week letting your child write an email to family I think is great! It not only teaches them the basics of typing and the computer but can help them with spelling and grammar by giving them the INSTANT feedback on if it's right or wrong. I would say it would be through MY email or if it was his/her own email I would monitor it HIGHLY but yes, I think it's great!

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