The ICT Lounge
Section 10.1:
Use of Email
When you send an email there are certain constraints and concerns that you should be aware of including:
  • Laws
  • Acceptable language
  • Copyright
  • Local guidelines
  • Security concerns
  • Netiquette
  • Password protection
Key Concepts of this section:
Know emails terms such as 'address book', 'email group', 'Cc' and 'Bcc'.
Understand the constraints that affect email usage.
Be able to explain why email accounts should be password protected.

Using emails to communicate
Key Words:
Electronic Mail, Address Book, Email Group, Cc:, Bcc:.
What are emails?

Emails are Electronic Mails that are sent between computers or devices either on a network or over the internet.

Microsoft Outlook Express is an example of a dedicated software email program.
Gmail is an example of email facility accessed through a web browser.
Address books are emails that you frequently use stored in one place.
Contact groups allow us to quickly send the same email to multiple people.
Carbon Copy (Cc:) emails are used to copy other people into your email.
Blind Carbon Copy (Bcc:) emails are used to send a copy of an email to other anonymously.

Click on the link above to access the task for this section.
Desktop pc's, Laptops, Tablets, Smart phones etc.

It is estimated that there are over 150 billion (150,000,000,000) emails sent every day.

That works out at over 20 emails for every living person on the planet.

Emails are sent for a wide range of purposes including:
  • Communication (with friends, family and colleagues)
  • Sending files
  • Business promotions
  • Marketing
  • etc

Software used to send/receive emails:
You can use two different types of email software:
  • Dedicated software installed on your computer (like Microsoft Outlook)
  • Web browser email (Gmail, Hotmail etc.).

Address Books:
Address books allow you to store the email address of people that you frequently contact.

This makes it quick and easy to find the email addresses of friends, family and business contacts.

Once an email address is stored in your address book, you can simply click it in order to start an email.

This reduces the possibility of entering an email incorrectly if you were typing it in manually.

Email Groups:
Email groups are lists of contacts that you would distribute the same emails to.

For example:
In schools, we often set up email groups for different year groups.

If we wanted to send an email to all of the students in year 10, we could simply select the 'Year 10' email group instead of having to enter the email addresses of each student individually.

Because email groups allow us to send the same email to multiple people, this saves a lot of time.

Carbon Copy (Cc):
Cc (carbon copy) is where you send an email to someone but also want other people to see a copy of the email as well.

To carbon copy people into an email you would add their email addresses into the cc box in your email software.

People who receive a carbon copy of an email are not the primary recipient.

They simply may have an interest in the emails content and should be made aware of it.

Blind Carbon Copy (Bcc):
Bcc (blind carbon copy) emails are similar to carbon copies but any email addresses entered are hidden from view.

Email addresses entered into the bcc box will still receive the same email but people copied into the main and cc boxes will not be aware of it.

For example:

I may want to send an email about ICT revision classes to students and parents.

I can't add parent emails into the main or Cc boxes because I don't want to broadcast their personal emails to everyone who receives the mail.

If I put their email addresses in the Bcc box, they will be hidden from view.

Bcc is used when you want to keep email addresses private.

Constraints that affect the use of emails
Key Words:
Laws, Language, Copyright, Employer Guidelines, Security, Accessibility, Netiquette.
There are a number of constraints (limitations) that we have to consider when using email. Some of these are described below:
Emails are subject to certain laws that must be followed.
Some countries censor emails and restrict what can
be said in them.
Emails used for marketing or advertising purposes must have an opt out option.
Emails used for marketing must contain valid contact details of the sender.
Emails should not contain swearing, threats or any other offensive content.
Emails should not be used to send copyrighted material.
Email should not be used to send sensitive information.
Emails are monitored to check for the use of words that could mean a threat to national security.
In order to use an email account, you need a valid password.
Sending a email typed completely in capital letters can be perceived as aggressive shouting.

Laws within a country that affect the general use of email:
In most countries emails are not censored and we are free to send pretty much whatever content we want.

However, governments in some countries monitor emails and people can be punished if their emails contain content such as:
  • Criticising the government
  • Sensitive religious topics
  • Discussing news articles relevant in other countries.

Laws that affect the use of email for marketing purposes:
Laws regarding emails sent for marketing purposes differ from country to country.

When businesses send an email for marketing purposes there are certain laws and rules that must be followed. For example:
  • What needs to go in the email subject line
  • What needs to go in the email's body
  • Should the receiver of the email have to 'opt-in' to receive it?
  • Should the receiver of the email be able to 'opt-out'?
To illustrate this, consider the example below.

The table compares laws in different countries which provide a set of rules for businesses sending promotional/advertising emails to potential customers:

What should go in the email's header?
Email address of the sender should be clearly identified in the "From" section.
Subject line must accurately describe email's contents.
Subject lines do not have to describe contents of the email.
What should go in the email's body?
Must be made clear that the email is an advertisement or promotion.
Does not have to be clear that the email is an advertisement or promotion
A valid postal address to the company.
Name, address, tel no and web address of sender.
Do receivers have to opt-in?
NO - businesses can send promotional emails to anyone.
YES in most European countries

NO in England or Ireland.
YES - promotional emails may not be sent to people who have not requested them.
Can receivers opt-out?
YES - receivers must be able to opt-out or unsubscribe and receive no future promotional emails.

Failure to follow these laws can result in big fines.

Acceptable language:
Emails containing the following are deemed unacceptable and could result in your prosecution:
  • Swear words
  • Threats
  • Racist comments
  • Any offensive content.

Sending copyrighted text, images or other files over email is illegal unless you have permission from the owner.

Copyright laws apply to emails as well and you can be prosecuted if you break them!

Guidelines set by employers/schools:
Employers and schools will expect you to follow a certain code of conduct when using their email facilities.

For example: you may not be allowed to use email to:
  • Send large files
  • Send confidential documents
  • Convey disagreements / arguments
  • Send offensive material.
Failure to follow the rules could see you fired or dismissed from your job/school.

National security:
Governments in most countries monitor emails for certain key words that could be seen as a threat to national security.

Criminals and terrorists often use email as a way to communicate with each other and so police forces around the world are constantly looking for tell-tale phrases that could help them to prevent these crimes.

For example:

If you send an email that contains the words 'bomb', 'Blow up', 'Al Qaeda' etc. there is a chance that you could be flagged up and investigated.

Do you have access to the email account?
In order to use an email account you need to have permission to do so.

Email services require the owner of the account to log in with the correct password.

If you don't have the correct password, you will not have access to the email account.

Email netiquette is a set of rules that users of email should try and follow.

These rules include:
  • Do not type ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS - this is seen as being aggressive
  • Only use 'Reply to all' if absolutely necessary
  • Fill in the subject line with something meaningful - give the reader an idea what the content is
  • Do not email any personal information - bank details, passwords, phone number
  • Keep emails short and to the point - reader shouldn't have to spend long looking at the email
  • Use sensible formatting - email should be clear and easy to read
  • Use Bcc: to ensure privacy - Bcc hides email addresses from recipients
  • Compress file attachments - larger files can be sent quicker.

Some videos:
Here are some links to videos that contain more information about data protection:


Please add your questions/comments below:

Links to Theory Units:
Links to Practical Units:
Section 11: File Management
Section 12: Images
Section 13: layout
Section 14: Styles
Section 15: Proofing
Section 16: Graphs and Charts
Section 17: Document Production
Section 18: Data Manipulation
Section 19: Presentations
Section 20: Data Analysis
Section 21: Website Authoring