I have a friend whose Gmail address is the first name of her only daughter at gmail dot com. She opened the account a few years ago, right after her daughter was born, so that by the time her child was old enough to need an email account, she’d have a personalized one that was easy to remember and identify (unlike firstname.lastname@example.org).
Turns out, though, opening a Gmail account for your kid violates Google’s terms of service. Unless, that is, you’re sneaky about it and use your kid’s Gmail account to “communicate with your child from birth into the future.” You know, kinda like – what do they call those things? – oh yeah, a blog.
Here’s how that works, as explained by TechCrunch:
You can’t open a Gmail account for your child to use, since Google’s system “will block users identified as under 13 years of age from opening an account.” But, you can open an account like the one featured in this video, which uses the address email@example.com, to send your child emails meant to be read when (s)he grows up.
Sophie Lee will no doubt take over this Gmail account when she turns 13, or she might have if it wasn’t featured in a television commercial. This account that was once used as a repository for her father’s love letters is probably now filled with announcements of UK lottery winnings and appeals from the Nigerian president.
Alternatively, you can open an account that uses your child’s name @gmail.com under a birth date that makes it appear your child is already 13. So, if you’re dying to secure a vanity Gmail address for your child, now you know how to beat the system! Just be sure to send your child love letters occasionally until they reach legal age so the account is active and clear of penis enlargement memos.
FYI – it looks like Yahoo’s policies are similar, since our Meredith told me, “I tried opening a Yahoo account for my unborn kid so I could send her emails and when I put in any birth year that made her younger than 18, it assumed I was a kid and told me I had to get parental permission, a parental Yahoo account and pay 50 cents on a credit card.” Our Madeline went so far as to secure a dot com of her own to set her kids up with email addresses so they could have their own frequent flier miles accounts, since airlines don’t offer a family plan.
My daughter doesn’t have an email address, and she’s already 5 1/2. I hope I haven’t missed the boat on this one! Guess I better go see if her name is available over at EarthLink. Or do you think Juno is cooler?