ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- When a 10-year-old boy broke America OnLine's rules, the giant Internet provider came down hard. It banned him -- and his family -- for life.

Derrick Wolbert and his family were a bit surprised. "I e-mailed a kid," the fifth-grader told The Buffalo News on Sunday, smiling and shrugging his shoulders. "I said I was, like, an AOL agent."AOL refused to reconsider, said Derrick's father, Dennis. The more he thought about it, the angrier he got.

"How do I get banned for life, too?" Wolbert asked.

Finally, after Wolbert complained to the state attorney general's office and the News began pursuing the story, AOL relented and reinstated the account.

"Someone impersonating an America Online employee is an absolute violation of our terms of service, whether it's someone 10 years old or 80 years old," said AOL spokeswoman Tricia Primrose.