The internet is an amazing tool for children to play or learn, providing excellent forms of education and entertainment. Studies have found that more children are using the internet from ages as low as 3 and with a rapid rise in the use of smartphones and computer tablets, we need to ensure that children are staying safe online.
There are over 500,000 educational apps online that provide fun activities and help teach children valuable critical thinking skills. 70% of these are targeted towards preschool-age children, providing countless opportunities for learning. Educational apps can advance cognitive skills as well as improve hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills. Nowadays, some apps make it all too easy for children to spend money on in-app purchases, adverts or phishing. It is a good idea to make sure that passwords are set to avoid them accidentally spending money. Children can often come across offensive content so it is also a good idea to supervise them – this can make a great bonding experience!
There are, however, some apps out there that can be harmful to children. It is important to teach them how to use the internet safely to make them aware of the risks, even from a young age. Messaging apps such as Tellonym or YOLO allow users to have anonymous conversations and put them at risk of cyberbullying or harassment. Try encouraging safer behaviour and teach them how to spot when something isn’t right.
Phones and tablets are great for a range of activities if screen time is monitored well. As well as for games, children often enjoy going online to watch videos. Youtube is a great way to access a huge variety of videos but it is often difficult to prevent users from seeing inappropriate content. Try changing the parental controls to filter out content or use YoutubeKids to restrict usage, ideal for kids aged 3+. Take a look at the digital tables we use in some of our nurseries to support learning.
Here are a few more tips on how to stay safe while online:
- Change privacy settings and parental controls on devices and in applications
- Block in-app purchases and disable one-click payment options
- Use specific apps that are made safe for children to use
- Check games and websites on Common Sense Media
- Use child-friendly search engines such as Kiddle
- Go online together with your child
- Report any content that is offensive or inappropriate.
Providing happy, nurturing childcare for the hours you need, across over 30 nursery settings in: Babbacombe, Plymouth, Bournemouth, Charminster, Copnor, Fawley, Gillingham, Corfe Mullen, Havant, Lakeside, Lymington, Taunton, Newport, Poole, Portsmouth, Salisbury,
Southsea, Wareham, Wimborne, Winchester, and Yeovil.