3-7 year olds
Children under the age of 7 are enthusiastic users of technology with 24% of 3-4s and 37% of 5-7s owning their own tablet.
At this age it is important to supervise a child’s use of technology and set up new videos and games for them. Ensuring they are age appropriate and that parental controls are turned on. Games specifically for younger ages are unlikely to include open chat features or the ability to join multi-player games and communicate with others online. For this reason it is vital to ensure they are engaging with age appropriate content online.
Whilst some children at this age may already be confident independent users of technology their use should still remain supervised. However, research shows around 15% of both 3-4s and 5-7s are allowed to take their tablet to bed with them. It is important to establish clear boundaries early on and introduce messages of safe use as soon as your child shows an interest in technology.
5 top tips for supporting children aged 3-7:
- Explore together – using your child’s favourite games, apps and sites with them is a great way to find out what they like to do online whilst supervising their use.
- Start open conversations early on – it’s best to start conversations about staying safe online as soon as your child shows an interest in technology. Remind them that if they only know someone online then this person is a stranger, no matter how nice or friendly they are, or how long you have spoken to them. You could also introduce them to the NSPCC’s Pants Rule which helps younger children understand which parts of their body should stay private - make sure they know this applies online too.
- Establish clear boundaries – it’s important to set up clear boundaries for when and where technology can be used. Try to keep use of devices to communal family areas and ensure your child knows to ask you before accessing something new online.
- Make use of parental controls – make use of the controls available to ensure that the internet is a safer space for your child to explore. You can set up parental controls on devices, on your home internet connection and even on a mobile phone network. Visit Internet Matters for more detailed information per service, app and device. Remember that parental controls should form part of a wider approach to keep children safe online and not be a used as a replacement for discussion and involvement.
- Encourage age appropriate games, sites and apps - it’s important that children use age appropriate games and apps as this will limit the chances of them seeing things that could worry or upset them. These services are also more likely to have additional safety features for younger children and will heavily limit the ability for other users to contact them.
Conversation starter ideas:
- What is your favourite thing to do on the Ipad/tablet etc? Why?
- When is it ok to use your tablet? (focus on your family’s rules around screen time use)
- Where at home is it ok for you to use your tablet?
- What games, apps or sites are ok to use?
- What do we call someone who we don’t know? (stranger)
- If someone you only know online (a stranger) sends you a message on a game, what should you do?
- Who can you come to for help if something worries or upsets you on the tablet?