Technology is more and more accessible to young children, and these days, it’s not unusual to see toddlers playing with tablets or smartphones. Instead of being worried about this phenomenon as a parent, you could turn it into something positive within your family.
The internet is everywhere – at home, in the office, and even in public places, such as restaurants and parks. The possibilities to access and use the web are nearly endless, and while this serves as a great convenience, it also comes along with its own set of dangers.
Today, children grow up with technology and continue to use it throughout their lives. Your children will inevitably come into contact with the web at some point, whether it’s with the help of your guiding hand or of their own accord. When you keep your child from accessing the internet in a safe manner, you limit their potential and prevent them from staying on a level playing field with others, both when they are young and once they grow up. That’s why, just like with any other areas of your children’s lives, it’s crucial that you’re in the know about their online activity and safety.
“When children are young, their web use mostly consists of playing games and watching various forms of entertainment. Small children mainly watch movies or play games on a mobile phone or tablet. You should play games with them and watch children’s movies and shows together, being careful to listen to them when they talk about what they’ve seen,” says Mikael Albrecht (@micke_fi), alumnus security expert at F-Secure Labs.
Preschoolers already know how to launch apps, watch children’s movies and shows and download the latest games. While they do these things, they are exposed to other similar content that may not be age appropriate, such as war games or TV shows containing violent content. You should discuss any interactions with these kinds of content with your children.
By playing the same games as your children, you can see the web through their eyes and have meaningful discussions about online content. This way, you can build a close relationship in which it’s easier and more natural to discuss these things when your child is older and the web content that they encounter gradually becomes targeted toward adults.
“Of course, you can limit the content that is available with external controls and apps, but these solutions are rarely bulletproof. The best way to ensure that your children approach the internet safely is to talk with them about the web openly and build a relationship from that,” concludes Albrecht.