Tocomail Website Poster Image

Tocomail

(i)

 

Kids’ email service pretty safe, but options are confusing.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn technology, vocabulary, and social skills involved in exchanging online mail with friends and family. What a great way to motivate kids to read and write! Kid experience is pretty simple, but adults might struggle with options and process, and plentiful opportunities to develop literacy are still untapped. Tocomail gets privacy and value mostly right but still needs some overall refinement.

Positive messages

Tocomail gives kids the freedom to safely communicate with their friends and family, while promoting online safety.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Tocomail is an email service for families that sends kids' emails to parents first; you can then approve or reject all incoming messages. While nothing on the web is 100 percent guaranteed safe, parents can rest easy that all email from sources that aren't already approved contacts will come to them first. Kids can respond on their iPad or iPhone device via the Tocomail app.

What's it about?

Tocomail is an email service that gives parents control over their kids' email accounts. A parent or guardian creates their own account, adding kid accounts as needed, then adds approved contacts to a "Safe List." All incoming emails go to the parent account first unless they're already from folks on the Safe List (family members, trusted friends, etc), and parents can approve or reject those messages. Kids can sign in after their parents and can add avatar clip art, simple drawings, cam shots, or gallery images to their outgoing emails.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Tocomail offers up a service tons of families want -- a way to exchange emails without worrying about ads, unknown influences, and spam flashing before their kids' eyes. On the whole, it's well-executed: Drawing features are totally fun, and safety appears to be relatively tight with no way for unapproved contacts to get through without parent action. Money-wise, unlimited kid accounts are a definite advantage over competitors. Parents can set up accounts via the web, then everyone can use the iOS mobile device app to really simplify matters. 

On the flip side, options can be confusing and the process isn't entirely thoughtful. Right at the onset, kids get a cheery welcome email from Toco, the site's colorful toucan mascot, who doesn't actually respond to any further emails. Seems like that welcome email should be from a parent if the point is to teach kids to only respond to approved family and friends, right? Anyway. The absence of any certifying web safety organizations is also a bit disappointing, and the profanity filter missed at least one iffy word from an approved contact during our testing. While the essential functions are mostly in place, some tightening up would create a smoother experience for parents.​ It's also worth noting that there are also lots of other places on the Internet where kids may meet and communicate with inappropriate contacts; Tocomail is just one piece of the online safety puzzle.

Families can talk about...

  • The purpose here is to prevent kids from exploring outside the service. However, families could start email-pal relationships with known contacts in other countries or states. 

  • Families can talk about the need to ignore communications on the web that aren't from parents, teachers, or family. Don't forget to tell your kids to speak up and tell you if they do make a mistake and respond to a stranger, and check out our Staying Safe and Secure in a Digital World guide for tips.

  • Enjoy enhanced online communication with your child. Start a daily encouraging and supportive message (a note in the lunchbox type of thing!) just for smiles.

Website details

Subjects:Language & Reading: naming, presenting to others, reading comprehension, writing, writing clearly
Social Studies: cultural understanding
Arts: drawing, photography
Skills:Creativity: producing new content
Self-Direction: personal growth
Emotional Development: empathy, moving beyond obstacles, persevering
Communication: asking questions, conveying messages effectively, friendship building, multiple forms of expression, presenting
Tech Skills: using and applying technology
Genre:Creating
Topics:Friendship

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Adult Written byMom G October 23, 2015

Toco Mail for Bullying

As Toco Mail can be used in a school set-up, it could be open to abuse by students who could always send hurtful words and insults to other classmates. If possible, filters should be included in the program in order to avoid cyber bullying. Responsibility not only lies on the ICT teacher but also on the maker of this product, so as not to give any bully an opportunity to hurt others or even steal the identity of another classmate and pretend to send hurtful messages. As the market for this product are young students, their emotional and social development are still developing, thus there is a need to control the platforms that they are using in order for adults to monitor their actions. If possible, only one could log on using the account and should there be any anomaly, it should be able to raise an alarm to the parent or adult, where the accounts are connected. Just like any innovation and invention, users and stakeholders must all be responsible in ensuring that we have a safe and healthy learning environment.
Teen, 15 years old Written byCameoSchatzi June 10, 2014

not yet

I may not have a family yet but i definitely will give this a try when i have children. It seems very nice and helpful. Good way to at least try to keep your kids pure from bad things for now.
What other families should know
Safety and privacy concerns
Parent Written byMixyplixl June 10, 2016

Caution for tweens - gateway to texting

My tween wanted email and while this sounded safe, the mobile version feels like texting and she is now communicating constantly with a friend who has a phone. Not our original intention! Also, while you can control the added contacts, you can't screen emails once the contacts are added. I think it would probably fine for a younger kid as an intro to email.
What other families should know
Safety and privacy concerns

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