The biggest advantage of e-mail is the possibility to quickly reach a group of people and the possibility to attach documents. Although they are not very active ‘mailers’, this e-mail address is very important for many young people. It is mainly a postal box online to receive passwords for games, logs of profiles, chat invitations,…
Thanks to your e-mail address, you ‘are’ someone online en people know how to reach you. Moreover, the creation of this e-mail address often has its place in the identity construction of adolescents: they choose their name, and therefore their identity online.
This process also has its downsides. Young children often use an e-mail address that reveals too much personal information such as name, age or sex. Many children post their e-mail address anywhere online, which can make them very ‘traceable’ if it reveals their full name, just separated by a dot. Make sure young children have an anonymous e-mail address. If they do choose an address with their full name, they only should use it to communicate with people they also know offline.
A second problem that occurs more frequently among young people. They sometimes choose provocative e-mail addresses like “sexykitten@... .com”. They often find this ‘funny’, but it can give the wrong image to surfers with less honest intentions.
Important to note that anonymous e-mail addresses are often used in cases of cyber bullying.