How Google Stole My Daughter's Gmail Account

googleMy kids have had their own Gmail addresses since they were about five years old. I set them up with accounts, added family and close friends to their contact list, and showed them how to communicate with Grandma, their uncles, etc. There's nothing cooler than getting an email from your five year old chock full of heart and rainbow icons.

My son has had his account for five years now, and it's full of history. I'll share YouTube clips with them, pictures, messages. It's a great digital archive of his early years, and he can keep that address forever.

Things haven't gone as smoothly for my daughter. At some point, Google prompted her to enter her birth date. She was born in 2004, and disclosed that to Google. Immediately, Google locked her out of her account. Apparently, you can't have a Gmail account unless you're at least 13 years old.

What irks me is that the account was suspended immediately. There was no opportunity to back-up emails. It was an instant "you're too young - sorry" and all was lost.

Michelle has a new Gmail account, and I've instructed her and James to never disclose their age to Google. They love having their own email account and using Google Chat and it's easy for me to monitor everything to ensure they're using it appropriately.

Google themselves seem to promote the idea of Gmail as a means of capturing a child's history, but in reality, they'll terminate such an account without warning.

Mamas, don't let your babies disclose their birth year to Google.


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Comments (7)

Jason

Thanks for the tip and the great idea! My daughter is 4 years old and I'm now looking forward to setting her up with an account.

February 1, 2012 / 11:32

Icarus

'Mamas, don't let your babies disclose their birth year to Google.'

The title of a future terrible country music song...

February 1, 2012 / 14:45

Mississauga Phil

While it is extremly irritating that your daughter lost all her archives the moment she disclosed her age, as a parent I am glad that google has limitations on things like that.

You are a very tech savy person and as such know how to monitor your children's activities, and would recognize a predator right away. Not all parents are as comforatble with computers as you or I, and it's good to know that its one less way that a child can be accessed by a predator....

February 1, 2012 / 14:48

Icarus

...and winner of a Grammy as well, obviously.

February 1, 2012 / 14:52

Mississauga Phil

Nah..we don't have to worry about MJ anymore...parents in California can sleep better....

February 2, 2012 / 08:02

Digger

Users also have to be 13 to have a Facebook account. I wonder how well that is working out for Facebook?

February 2, 2012 / 11:10

Roshan

Email accounts at the age of 5! Did you & I even imagine email at that age? My sister's kids have gmail & Facebook accounts - they lied in the sign up form as well.

February 2, 2012 / 11:21

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