…more than I can tweet…
Remember that Google commercial, where the dad is writing emails to his child who was just born? Total bullshit. Here’s why.
My kids have had Gmail addresses since they were born – yeah I had that idea long before that commercial came out. I got them so I could send emails, advice, pictures and things, but also so that my children would have easy-to-remember email addresses. They’ve made these email addresses their Apple ID’s too, so they could use iMessage and FaceTime with their friends.
Earlier this year, I gave my oldest, now 9, an old Google Chromebook – a CR-48 unit, the first generation of Chromebook that never made it to the public. It’s the perfect computer for her; she gets email, web, chat, and it’s nearly maintenance-free because it does everything in the cloud. The Chromebook requires that she sign in with her Google account — her Gmail account.
Today, my daughter tried logging in and it asked her for her birthday. Now, I’ve always taught my children to never give information away, but she was in a hurry and entered her birthday. Then she got a surprise.
“Your account has been disabled because you do not meet the age requirements for Google Services. This account will be deleted within 25 days unless you made a mistake entering your birthday and can verify that you are over 13 years of age.”
Then it gave a few options to verify: use a credit card (charging you 30 cents), email or fax a copy of a government ID.
My daughter cried. She’s been using that Gmail account to talk to family, teachers, friends, and friends that have moved back to Germany. This also would mean her Chromebook would become unusable.
Google’s Terms of Service NEVER said anything about a minimum age. In fact, their sign up page used to say “Now everyone in the World can sign up for Gmail!” This is some new policy they’re rolling out.
Well, I found a workaround:
The page said it may take up to 15 minutes. When I did this, it worked right away.
I’m very, very close to moving all my family’s email accounts off Google.