We live in an online world these days. I could see this back in 1995 when i got my first Window's based computer and went online and started my first website (it was cheesy!). But the world that we live in is quickly moving to a world where kids NEED to know about the online world at a much younger age.
Claire was playing online at Playhouse Disney when she was 3. She could turn on the computer, she could open the Internet, and she could type in enough of the web URL that the rest would pop up and she would then click on the link to take her to Playhouse Disney.com. She had and used her own e-mail account starting at age 3. She had her own website (still does, its just not up at the moment) at the age of 2 and by the age of 4 she was helping me design it and work it. She had her own twitter at the age of 8. She had her own Facebook by the age of 9 and the list continues to grow.
i have many friends who shelter their kids from the online world thinking that it will protect their kids. My wonder in their thinking is this, Protect them from what? It is true that the world is a big place and the internet brings it right to your doorstep. But it is also true that if you are a good parent you can still shelter them from the world online by being a positive influence and by keeping tabs on what they are doing. I have not had any issues to date with Claire being online. she is 10 and still growing in her love of the internet.
For me it was the simple fact that the internet is the wave of the future. Heck, it is the wave of the NOW! If your kid doesn't get small doses of it during their youth, when they do get the ability to be online they will go over-board and perhaps feel lost. I'm not saying let your kid loose online and find their way to a porn website! but giving them their own e-mail account to connect with friends and family near and far,