I'm trying to make my kids' (ages 9.5 and 9.5) gmail accounts safer.

Is there a way to limit (filter, etc.) inbound email to only email from folks on their contact list?

  • but would you be able to lock the contact list then?
    – UncleZeiv
    Feb 9, 2011 at 19:18
  • I'm OK with not locking the contact list. I just want to make sure THEY have initiated all contact. Feb 10, 2011 at 0:55

4 Answers 4


Supposedly Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail have this as an option.

You might also consider a service like ZooBuh, which is designed specifically for parental controls over a child's email.


You could do this with filters. The problem is that its trivial to remove the filter if you know what you are doing.

  1. Create a new filter.

  2. In the "From" field type "-([email protected]) AND -([email protected])"

    This filter will grab everything that are NOT email addresses that you like.

  3. Set the filter to delete those emails.

There are a bunch of potential problems with this, and it is untested. I can confirm that the filter grabs all the non-friendly emails, but it might also grab chats and sent emails. Also, this does not block people from contacting the user through chat.


Thanks to the tip from Al Everett, I poked around on Hotmail.

  1. Bring up your Hotmail window Click on the Options drop down menu in the upper right corner.
  2. Choose More Options.

  3. Choose Filters and Reporting Select the second option under Junk Email Filter: Exclusive


I'm not sure if this is actually possible, I've had a dig around the settings on gmail but can't find anything related to this.

I think it is difficult to suggest anything else as we don't know how old your kids are to suggest other ways of managing this...

  • Updated question with kids ages: 9.5(twins) Feb 12, 2011 at 8:59

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