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How old do you have to be to open a Gmail account?

Best answer: Like most online services, you'll have to be 13 and above to be eligible to create a Gmail account. You can, however, set up and manage an account for your child via Family Link, which lets them access Google services like Gmail and YouTube.

Under 13 need not apply

Anyone aged 13 and above can set up and manage their own Google accounts. The minimum age restriction is in place because of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). This act limits online services from collecting personal information of users under the age of 13 without their parental consent.

As it's not feasible for services to get parental permission for every underage user that signs up, online services restrict users 13 and below from setting up an account. For instance, if you set up an account for your kid under a different age, and if Google becomes aware of that fact, it will lock that account.

While 13 years is the standard minimum age for most countries, there are several regions around the world where it's usually higher:

  • Austria: 14+
  • Bulgaria: 16+
  • Croatia: 16+
  • Cyprus: 14+
  • Czech Republic: 15+
  • France: 15+
  • Germany: 16+
  • Greece: 16+
  • Hungary: 16+
  • Ireland: 16+
  • Italy: 14+
  • Lithuania: 14+
  • Luxembourg: 16+
  • Netherlands: 16+
  • Poland: 16+
  • Portugal: 16+
  • Romania: 16+
  • San Marino: 16+
  • Slovakia: 16+
  • Slovenia: 16+
  • Spain: 14+
  • South Korea: 14+
  • Vietnam: 15+
  • Aruba: 16+
  • Caribbean Netherlands: 16+
  • Curaçao: 16+
  • Sint Maarten: 16+
  • Peru: 14+
  • Venezuela: 14+

The only way to create a Google account for someone under the age of 13 is via Family Link. The feature lets parents set up and manage a Google account for their kids, with the ability to set activity controls and content restrictions.

For Gmail accounts used by kids under the age of 13, there are a few differences. Google doesn't serve ads within Gmail or read the contents of the mails for targeted advertising. Automatic forwarding and Gmail offline are also not available to underage users. Any mail that Google identifies as spam will not be delivered to the inbox or even the spam folder.

If you're looking to get your kid set up with Gmail, the best option right now is through Family Link. The robust set of controls on offer makes it extremely easy to configure an account for your children and set safeguards in the form of SafeSearch, downloads, and purchases, and screen time limits.

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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor covering Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone manufacturers, and writes about the semiconductor industry, storage servers, and audio products. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.