Seventy per cent of Canadian kids, ages 9 to 17, have e-mail accounts.
(Source: MediaSmarts, formerly Media Awareness Network, Young Canadians In A Wired World, 2001)
E-mail lets you:
Research from the MediaSmarts in 2001 shows that:
E-mail newsletters are a great way to get information out to a large number of people for free. If you are a member of a sports league or any another type of organization, you can keep members up-to-date with a monthly e-mail newsletter.
Extend your circle of friends. Joining an E-mail pen pal program is a great way to learn about people, cultures and traditions from around the world. Many Web sites offering e-pal services are free and provide security options so people don’t need to give out their e-mail address.
Stationary. If you find the background for your e-mails just too boring - try ‘kicking it up’ with customized stationary. Free stationary for all occasions can be found and easily added to most e-mail programs. Whether you want to celebrate a holiday or just want to express yourself in a unique way, stationary is a free way to ‘jazz up’ your e-mails.
Protect your e-mail address. Don’t reveal your e-mail address on a Web site, in chat rooms, or in a personal profile.
If you have a Web-based e-mail account such as Hotmail or Yahoo!, protect your e-mail address during the registration process. Watch out for options that automatically sign you up for directories, ask you to list your interests, or sign you up for promotional e-mailings. If you don’t want to be spammed, “unclick” these options.
Create a “dummy” e-mail address. If you must submit an e-mail address – let’s say, to enter a contest or register for a Web site – you could set up a separate e-mail address for these kind of activities. That way you can protect your regular e-mail address from spammers.
Don’t open or respond to unsolicited e-mail. If you get an e-mail message that you didn’t ask for, from a person you don’t know or from a marketer, don’t answer the message (even if it’s just to tell them not to bother you). If you respond to the message, you’re showing the sender that your e-mail address is active, which is an open invitation to bother you again. Just forward it to the trash.
Forward e-mail that’s offensive or illegal to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or to the police. Tell an adult right away if you receive an e-mail message that makes you feel uncomfortable. If you receive unwanted spam, your ISP may be able to help you block or filter it. You have a right not to be harassed. Report any e-mail that contains material that may be illegal.
Take advantage of e-mail filters. Most e-mail programs, even Web-based accounts like Hotmail, have filters that allow you to block messages from specific people, or messages that contain certain words or phrases. These filters can help reduce the amount of spam you receive.
Remember that e-mail isn’t private. Think of e-mail as an electronic postcard – not a sealed letter. Anyone with basic hacking skills can read another person’s e-mail.
Is my personal information that important?
“Don’t sign up for personal directories.” “Don’t give your e-mail address to Web sites.” Adults are always telling young people to guard their personal information when they’re online, but is it that big a deal?
As you can see in the e-mail Quick Facts, some kids do receive disturbing messages and images through their e-mail accounts – and very few kids ask an adult for help when this happens.
Think about it… How do you feel about protecting your privacy? How much information do you feel comfortable giving out to Web sites or individuals? What would your main reason be for not giving out personal information online? Is pornographic and advertising spam just a nuisance, or is it a form of harassment? What steps do you take to eliminate spam or unwanted messages from your e-mail account(s)? How do you feel about a company collecting information about you so they can better target you to market their products?