NC: master/sub account, auditing messages, ID verification for kids' SN site

I'm building out (or rather, pulling out my hair because I can't figure out how to build out) a kids' SN site.  The basic premise of the site is that parents sign up and go through a rigorous background check, and then create a subaccount for each of their kids.  The parents would be able to audit everything their kids do, all messages in and out, who friends them and who they friend, and so on.  Pretty much everything their kid can do, all with very fine-grained controls.

On top of all that, I need it to integrate with regular email, and be able to not only send and receive internet emails, but do so with the above access controls AND automatically create the email address upon creation of the subaccount.  Oh yeah and delete it if/when the user unsubscribes.

Sounds like a headache, huh?  Grab a bottle of Tylenol (paracetamol for all you EU types) and call me in the morning.  Or just drop me a line at

  • Hi Dan, I've also been wondering about parental control/auditing of kids accounts.   Google apps for your domain might be one way to go.  i.e. set up gapps mail account on your gapps domain for parent.  Elgg Subaccounts can be created using the gmail + option. 

    If parent account is e.g.

    Elgg accounts can be created using

    Of course there isn't a gmail apps account under parentsname+kid1 (mail/notifications sent to that address is understood by gapps mail to belong to parentsname and sent to that account.)  Parents could then decide whether to set up a forwarding filter to their kids' real email addresses, (messages and notifications would appear in the kids' elgg  message box anyway if their account is set up to alllow notification in site)

    I think it would be neccessary to somehow remove the option for changing the email address on the subaccounts so that kids wouldn't be able to divert their mail to a different address.


  • Lovegin John


    Greetings. You can develop this system easily with some customizations to the elgg app. You will have to develop a plugin to manage the accounts as parent-child and place a relation between them. We can furtehr develop a plugin that controls parents access to children's data and activities. Or even further change parents rights based on the age group of children, as they grow.


    Them, we can set up an internal email system, something like,, etc. We will need to develop a plugin for that as well, and need some configuration with the server as well. Thease can be controlled with the elgg account.

    Please let me know if you have any comments.

    Lovegin John
    Skype: webcubes

  • I've been looking at doing the master/sub thing within Elgg directly (as opposed to a plugin) and it does seem a lot easier as far as coding goes...but how would I upgrade my elgg installation?  Maybe this is something I need to feed back in to the 2.0 dev stream?  Except I have no illusions that I'm that good... :D

    Presently I'm running on ipage hosting, but I've got an Amazon EC2 server set up and running Elgg as well (even running the database on their totally scalable database offering!), and I'll probably go with that in the future as I get total control over everything software and it's about as scalable as I can imagine needing.  So setting up the email stuff on the local server is almost certainly going to be the way to go there...I can re-write popd if I really have to.

    Come to think of it, would a plugin that fetches from a pop3 or imap server and sticks the mails into the elgg message database be all that hard?  Sounds, well fairly straightforward to me.  All that'd be left is having the subaccount creation process also create the email address, and I'm afraid I have no idea how that works.  Same goes for deleting the email acct upon subaccount (or parent account for that matter) deletion....but again if something like cPanel can do it I know I can make php do it from within elgg.  If we do it this way, with separate modules for fetching and integrating the email messages with the internal elgg messages and for creating/managing/deleting the email addresses themselves, this could be very extensible and a great boon to the elgg community as a whole.  I love win/win/win situations.

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