Keeping Your Pre-schooler Safe Online

Welcome to the first in a series of blogs featuring advice from a new eSafety awareness campaign for parents – Internet Matters.

Today the spotlight is on pre-schoolers, our youngest digital natives, born into the digital world, taking to devices like ducks to water.

  • 37% of children age 3-4 access the internet using a computer or laptop
  • 27% of children age 3-4 watch TV programmes on computers or mobile phones
  • 47% of parents worry about how much time their children spend online

source: Ofcom 2012 and Cybersafe Opinion Leader Report 2013

Many borrow their mum’s or dad’s computers, smartphones and tablets to watch their favourite TV shows, play games and use apps.

You are still in control of their activity but there are still things you can do to ensure that they use the Internet safely: 

Put yourself in control by installing parental controls on your home broadband.

Explore Together by setting your homepage to a child-friendly site like CBeebies and create a user account for your child on the family computer which only allows access to sites you’ve chosen.

Use Passwords by keeping your devices out of their reach and setting passwords on all your devices and don’t share them. That way you’ll know when your child is accessing the internet and you can ensure they are prevented from making ‘in app’ purchases when playing games or using apps.

Help them learn through games by choosing safe, fun and educational online games to play together and ones you feel confident about them exploring. Free examples are available from Disney, Fisher Price and CBeebies.

Stay involved by putting your computer in a communal area like the lounge or kitchen so you can keep an eye on how they’re using the internet and also share in their enjoyment. If you take an interest in their internet use, from an early age, they are more likely to talk to you about their experiences – good and bad. Encourage openness.

Set boundariesfrom the start set some rules about how long your child can spend online. Consider having no–screen days. If they grow up with these as the norm then it will make life easier when they are in their primary school years.

Search Safely by using search engines such as www.kids-search.com, www.swiggle.org. Save time by adding them to your ‘Favourites’. Safe search settings can also be activated on Google and other search engines, as well as YouTube.

Have fun!

Julia

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