Gmail for kids? Google reportedly wants to open its services to youngsters

Miley Cyrus YouTube
Kids definitely need to be sheltered from the likes of this

When children use the internet they're supposed to play games they read about on the backs of cereal boxes, not check their Gmail accounts and write Facebook statuses.

The internet-at-large can be a scary place for kids, after all, but Google might be aiming to start changing that.

The search company is working to overhaul its online services so that children under the age of 13 can safely use them, according to The Information (paywall).

Currently users of services like Google+ and Gmail must be over 13-years-old to sign up or have permission from their parents, though these restrictions are easy to get around.

Dear Sophie, what's your mother's maiden name?

Instead of pretending kids aren't using Google's services, the company apparently wants to enable parents to create a safe environment for their offspring.

This means tools that will reportedly include a dashboard parents can use to oversee their kids' online activity, a YouTube site just for kids, and new rules requiring users who sign up for Google accounts on Android devices to share their ages, as they already have to do on PCs.

The Verge compares these rumors to a Google video from 2011 called "Dear Sophie," in which a father creates a Gmail account for his newborn daughter and emails her photos and other content as a sort of web-housed, interactive scrapbook that she'll ostensibly read when she's old enough to have her own Gmail account.

Google would be wise to turn something like that into an actual product - and the company is likely greedily eyeing the data it will be able to collect from users as they age on the internet.

We asked Google for comment on the report and were told the company doesn't comment on "on rumor or speculation."

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.