Keeping under fives safe online

Ofcom’s latest research has shown that 86% of 3-4 year olds have access to a tablet at home and 21% have their own tablet. 

Children of all ages enjoy using technology. We now see young children going online to play games, talk to family, watch videos and even learn to use voice enabled tech like Alexa and Siri to find out about their world.

Below you will find our answers to some of the questions you may have and further information and advice that you can put in place at home, to help keep your youngest children safe online. 

Frequently asked questions:

  • Where do I start? Open or Close

    The best way to keep your family safe online, and to understand your children’s internet use, is to use the internet together. Explore the games and services that your children are using, or want to use, and use the safety features available. There are lots of fantastic websites, apps and games for young children to use so look out for these and enjoy them together. These steps will give you a better understanding of the different ways that children are engaging with technology and help you to feel more confident.

  • Should I set any rules? Open or Close

    In the same way that you set boundaries for most areas of your children’s lives, establish your expectations regarding online activities. Creating a family agreement (www.childnet.com/have-a-conversation) is a useful step, which might include time spent online, where and when devices can be used and what to do if they see something upsetting.

     

  • How can I supervise my child? Open or Close

    Prevention is better than cure so it is best to look at apps or websites before your child is allowed to use them. There are lots of great apps and websites out there so have a look and try them out yourself. We also recommend that you always supervise young children when they are online as they may stumble across something upsetting, on sites like YouTube. Since the internet can be accessed from a number of devices and many of these are portable, we would advise you to keep devices (tablets, voice enabled technology, games consoles, laptop) in a busy part of the house e.g. the living room or kitchen. This makes it easier for you to be involved in their technology use and you are right there to answer any questions and help them.

     

  • How much time is too much time? Open or Close

    Young children can be enthusiastic users of technology. The challenge can be to harness this enthusiasm and ensure a balance, so that the use of technology does not negatively impact on other important areas of young children’s lives. There are some strategies that can be used to help manage the time online issue, such as setting time limits or using time limiting tools, designating weekly times to use the internet together, or removing portable devices from your child’s bedroom at night to avoid tiredness.

  • Where can I report? Open or Close

    Reports can be made to websites through their safety/help centres and moderation services. If you are worried or suspicious about someone who contacts your child online report them to CEOP.  Inappropriate media content seen online of offline, such as a game, advert of film can be reported via Parentport. For more information regarding reporting, visit our Need Help page in the parents and carers section of the Childnet website.

     

Further help and advice:

Safety tools available

Tools to keep your under 5s safe online.

Key advice for your child

Advice that you can give your under 5s to keep them safe online

Suitable games for under 5s

How to find out which games are ok for your child to play