3-7 year olds
Children are engaging with technology from a very young age and their early online experiences can shape their understanding of the wider world and human interaction. For children aged 3-7 their online use could mainly consist of watching videos online, playing games or searching for content and this could be done using parents' phones, family tablets or even their own devices. This access to online content could mean they are at risk of seeing inappropriate, worrying or upsetting content which could impact on their digital wellbeing.
How much are children aged 3-7 engaging with technology and the internet?
OFCOM, the UK regulator for communications services, publishes an annual review into the media use and attitudes of children and parents which looks into the media access of young children aged 3-4 as well as the general understanding of children aged 5-15.
OFCOM Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report 2017
5 top tips for supporting children aged 3-7 online
- Discuss how technology fits into family life - Begin by talking about how you use the internet as a family when at home and beyond and how going online can make us feel. Use the conversation starters below to help guide these discussions.
- Establish rules and boundaries - Why not try using our family agreement to create a set of boundaries to help keep your child safe when using technology. You could even ask older children to suggest rules which could help you as a family and discuss how they will help keep you all safe when online.
- Consider how changes to routine can impact on digital wellbeing - Changes to routine can mean children have more or less access to technology and the internet which can in turn have an impact on how it makes them feel. Discuss as a family how the rules and boundaries you have created with your family agreement will work when there are changes to routine.
- Be supportive - It's important that children know who they can turn to for support and that they feel listened to and supported if anything ever does worry or upset them online. Make sure children know who all the trusted adults are that they can ask for help, whether it's at home or at school.
- Stay informed - It's important that you know what to do or where to go to find out if ever your child does need help with something that is worrying or upsetting them online. Visit our 'Need help?' page for parents and carers for more advice, support and reporting routes.
Conversation starter ideas
A simple and effective way to get involved in your child's online life is through discussion - an open dialogue is the best way to help your child access the amazing resources the internet has to offer whilst keeping them safe online.
- What is your favourite thing to do online?
- What things make you happy when you use technology?
- What things make you unhappy/angry/sad when you use technology?
- Do you have any rules at home/school for using technology? What are they?
- Who helps you to stay safe?