Recent statistics released by Ofcom revealed that over 50% of children aged 3-4 go online for nearly 8 hours a week, and 1 in 5 children aged 3-4 have their own tablet. This may be surprising, but research from the London School of Economics has shown that a number of families are making increased investments in digital technologies as a means of furthering their children’s education, maintaining connections with family and friends, or simply facilitating and enjoying daily life.
How young is too young to start engaging with my child about online safety?
It’s never too early to start taking action to keep your child safe online. As soon as your child starts talking about or exploring the online world, you should initiate conversations with them about their online activities and begin to put support in place. Research has found that children form ‘digital habits’ during early development (such as using devices after bedtime), and so it is important for parents and carers to support children to develop positive – and lasting – digital habits from an early age.
What are the benefits of my under 5 accessing technology?
There are many potential benefits of children engaging with digital technology from an early age. The internet presents children with opportunities to learn, connect with family, develop their creativity, as well as have fun. Apps, games and websites designed for under 5s help children to improve their literacy and numeracy skills, and support them to develop their fine-motor skills (such as their ability to move fingers independently by pointing and pushing buttons, and improving hand-eye coordination). A number of families use video chat and messaging services as a way to connect with family and friends, which allows young children to maintain and strengthen relationships with relatives. There are lots of child friendly and fun sites which you can explore with your child, such as Cbeebies, where children can watch videos, play games, learn and be entertained.