Open your regular email page, such as Google or Yahoo! mail. Click on the email address field and look at the auto complete options that appear. If one is unfamiliar, it may be a secretly created email account.
Check your browser history for sites that offer free email. In most cases, the listing will include both the web address and the email name used with that account.
Scan deleted files in your child's regular email address. Nearly all free email accounts send a confirmation notice to a previous email as part of the creation process. Though most kids will be smart enough to remove that mail from an inbox, permanently deleting an email usually requires extra steps that your child might not know about, or might not have bothered to complete.
Check social media accounts your child uses or owns. They might include mention of email addresses you don't know about.
Look at the email settings on your child's phone. If he has a secret email address, he might have set it up to receive messages on a more personal mobile device.
Install a key logger program on the family computers. These programs monitor what happens on the computer. They will tell you what sites your child visits and what keystrokes she uses while there.
These are all ways to find out covertly what your child is up to on the Internet. The best practice is to maintain an open, honest relationship with your child where she feels comfortable using only the email addresses you know about.
Though you have the right to take these actions with your own minor child, this kind of snooping on an adult child is often illegal. It's usually against the law to install a key logger on a computer you don't own.
Younger Than 13
Visit the Yahoo website with your child to access the account your under-13-year-old created. Review the information your child provided on the account page to verify its accuracy. Note your child’s password to enable you to gain access to his email account.
Enter your credit card information to make a payment of 50 cents, as of 2013, to enable Yahoo to process the parental consent. Yahoo says it donates a portion of this payment to charity.
Submit the form to Yahoo to activate the account.
Monitor your child’s email account by logging in with Yahoo ID and the password.
13 and Older
Ask your child to provide you with her Yahoo identification and password to enable you to access her account.
Create an agreement with your child that she will not change her password without informing you of the change to ensure that you can have access to the account when you need it.
Enter the account information on the Yahoo website to log into your child’s email account.
The frequency you check your child’s email account is an individual decision based on your child’s age, her behavior and the level of trust built up between the two of you. If you sense warning signs such as slipping grades or changing attitudes, checking your child’s email account might be prudent.
Choose which service you want to use. AOL has an e-mail program for children called KOL. You can choose to set up an account for a kid, teen, or mature teen. You can also choose an account like ZooBuh, which sends all of your child's e-mails directly to you first--you must give your approval for the email to be delivered to your child. Of course, you can always stick with your normal e-mail accounts, such as Gmail, but they aren't as good at protecting your children.
Help your child come up with a user name for his e-mail address. The user name should not contain any part of the child's real name or any other personal information such as a birth date. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org is safer than email@example.com.
Create a password. This should be something that both you and your child will remember. Make sure your child knows that you will have access to the account and that this is for his or her own safety. You may want to write down the email address and password in a safe place.
Go to the options menu and set up your child's e-mail account to automatically delete spam. Several companies have this feature, including Hotmail. This will prevent your child from seeing any inappropriate spam messages that get through.
Set up a filter if your service does not allow you to automatically delete spam messages. You can type inappropriate words into your filter; your service will block any incoming messages that contain those words.
You should also consider setting up parental control software on the computers that your children use. This will stop them from viewing websites with adult content.
Children may try to tell you that you are invading their privacy by keeping an eye on their e-mail activity. Do not let that deter you from keeping your children safe. In this case, safety is more important than privacy.
Choose which service you wish to use for your child's e-mail account. Some services require a fee while others -- such as AOL Kids, or KOL -- are free of charge.
Enter a screen name and password into the sign-up form to create an account.
Fill in the remaining required information, such as birth date, gender and a security question in the event that your child forgets her password.
Read and agree to the terms and conditions in order to proceed to the next step of the sign-up process.
Verify that you are an adult. The requirements vary depending on which service you choose. You may be required to enter your credit card information so that it will be charged and credited one dollar for confirmation.
Navigate to the parental controls section of the website and sign up for your account, following the prompts for each step. Some services require you to download the software in order to control the settings.
Set up your desired restrictions and provide your child with her sign on information for access to her own e-mail account. Some of the options under e-mail settings include controlling which e-mail addresses your child can send and receive e-mail to and from; controlling instant messaging, downloads and chat rooms; activity reports; and controlling the amount of time your child can stay connected.