Once a child reaches junior high, chances are that they have already had a working email account with at least one provider. As a child moved on to a new school and a higher grade, they naturally feel like their privileges should grow with them. Junior high age children are notorious for their lacking skills in the field of judgment and stereotypically find themselves in more trouble than they had in elementary school. Chances are that you will not be able to control what your junior high aged child is going to be doing when you are not looking, but you can encourage them to choose their email options from a list of providers that you can at least feel comfortable with.
There are two very popular companies online that offer free email services. They are Yahoo.com and Google.com. Yahoo and Google are both very large companies and as such have had to develop ethical practices that appeal to the masses. This means that these sites will block objectionable materials from being advertised on their site because it would negatively affect their image. Smaller providers naturally have smaller audiences and will not have to appeal to the same degree of diversity when it comes to deciding what is and what is not allowed on their site. Smaller companies also cannot afford to be as picky when it comes to advertisers in the same way that larger companies can afford to be selective.
The main concern after you have chosen a reputable provider then becomes teaching your child when it is and when it is not appropriate to give out their email address. Most young teens start receiving objectionable emails not because of the site that their account is through, but because they compromised the security of their email address and some other source is giving that information out or selling it to companies that can then send harmful spam messages.
Children need to be taught that with increased freedoms comes increased responsibilities and that the same consequences that applied when they were younger still apply now. Those rules might pertain to length of time on the computer, the types of people with whom correspondence is allowed, what to do when you are sent a message by someone you do not know, etc. Also, children need to be educated regarding the importance of guarding their identity. Not only will protecting your identity lead to fewer junk emails, but it could prevent the occurrence of identity theft, or even worse, of someone getting enough information about your child to be able to contact them in person.
Parents may also find that the best email provider for their children is the same email provider that they themselves have. When both parent and child have the same email account provider, parents are better able to understand the details about that particular account and can more easily access the type of information that they may need to look for if there is some sort of violation of trust between child and parent when it comes to email activity.
By the time your child has reached the age of junior high, they should know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. When it comes to email, your junior high school student needs to know that they are being trusted with a privilege when they are granted their own email account. Emailing is definitely fun but it can also be dangerous and your young teen needs to understand this and stick to the guidelines and list of acceptable email providers that you as parents have established for them.