How to give your young children a personalized (managed) email address
February 5th, 2007
My kids like writing letters to their friends and family. However, licking envelopes and putting those funny little stickers on them is not something I do very often (I pay all my bills online and 100% of my correspondence is by email). So, whenever the kids want to send a message to their aunt or uncle or whoever, I have them write it out, then I scan the page, save it as a JPG, and email it as an attachment. All the personality of a real-live letter without the stamping, mailing, and waiting.
The only drawback to that approach is that the email comes from me. My kids, 6 and 4, are too young to have their own email accounts. Email software is too complex for them and they can’t type anyway. Besides, I don’t want them exposed to the kind of spam I get on a regular basis. Fortunately, most email apps let you setup multiple identities on one account. (The instructions below are for Gmail, but you can do virtually the same thing in any email software—read the help pages.)
Suppose your Gmail address is Alice@gmail.com and your child’s name is Johnny. To send mail from your Gmail account with Johnny’s name in the From line:
- Go into Settings, click Accounts, then Add another email address
- Now enter Johnny’s name and Alice+Johnny@gmail.com as the address.
You can now compose mail and select Johnny’s name for the from address. The mail will appear to come from Johnny and replies will come right back into your regular Gmail account. You can even create filters for Alice+Johnny to separate those emails from your other email. And you can create as many as you like (Alice+Susy@gmail.com, Alice+Jane@gmail.com, etc.).