This might be somewhat U.S.-specific, but here goes:
My daughter is 10, and she (me like at the same age) has begun to type her school assignments. This is a good thing for two reasons: Whether justly or not, teachers grade typed assignments more favorably for many, many years (until it becomes de reigeur) AND Jesus, her writing is atrocious (out of pity for the teachers, nothing less).
So she has an essay or whatever lovingly crafted in Writer, and now we face the ultimate eco-question: Paper or electrons? Submit on dead trees, with toxic toner (yeah, we lase–too poor for liquid inks!), or get right (write?) with the 21st Century and just send the damn thing by email, y’know, like she’ll be doing for at least the next few decades, often to feed herself by working a job.
Email, of course. Wherein you run into that practice of U.S.-based email providers to limit accounts to kids who are older than 12 (some fool “Internet Protection” Law and the way providers read it, or whatever). So, now we have to either yoke the mailhandler installed on her PC to a legit account (one of mine), and allow its IMAPping to access my email (NO. WAY.) or sneakernet it to one of my PC’s for sending. (It is as this point, paper starts whispering its seductive offers in my good ear.)
Couldn’t a simple SMTP-only module be added to just “mailto:” whomever the heck she says, right from LO? No using the default mailhandler (and its stubborn, yet-innocent-in-its-purity, insistence that every sender also be allowed to receive).
Truth be told and just as an aside, I have no problem with my middle-schooler emailing anyone on the planet–it’s their replies I worry about; those come to me for editorial review (“reply-to,” anyone? I change that all the time!). And no, I’m not sure that I’ll stop feeling that distinction when she turns 13, no matter what Congress says. (And I am no bubble-wrap parent: I worship at the Church of St. Lenore [Skenazy], which teaches that the trouble and hurt you can get into on the Internet far exceeds in almost all cases the trouble and hurt you can get into in the neighborhood your loving parent[s] has/have deemed acceptable for dwelling in.)
Yes, there’d be little error-checking (if you send to a legit email address, BUT THE WRONG ONE, SMTP isn’t going to know), but wow, I imagine the ease and power of “Email to Teacher” on a menu, and I get light-headed with joy: Modern, eco-smart, instantaneous and no more homework left on the desk in the bedroom. Be still, my fluttering heart.
I’ll pay for a module like this, because my best alternative is a $50-a-year service for kiddy-safe email. Seems like a simple way to make LO (especially Writer and Impress–the most common tools she uses) the go-to for parents with schoolkids.