Internet Safety for Preschoolers: What Parents Need to Know
Risky and inappropriate content in the internet (pornography, violence, cruelty) can affect your child’s mental development and behaviour. Also, strangers might initiate a conversation or video call with our kids while we’re away. It’s especially the case now because internet access is quick and easy through tablets, mobile phones and personal computers.
As parents, what can we do then to protect our kids from risky and inappropriate content found online? What can we do to ensure that our children stay safe when using the internet? Let’s discuss some of the most effective ways in keeping your preschooler safe when online.
Limit contact and internet usage
This is the most effective way because we’re not always around to watch our kids whenever they use their phones or tablets. Our children are only one or few clicks away from a violent video or other inappropriate content, which is why limiting the usage of gadgets and internet is the best defence.
After all, it’s highly recommended that the child’s digital media exposure should be only one hour each day. Although digital content exposes our children to lots of different cool and exciting things, it only takes a single image or video to harm our kids. In addition, limiting digital media exposure also means more actual playtime. Note that each hour of phone and internet usage means one less hour for playing with toys or playing outside.
Control what your child can see and access
This is more about being responsible than putting restrictions. Preschoolers undergo rapid brain development and you don’t want to jeopardise or contaminate that with inappropriate digital content. Games and websites should be child- and age-appropriate (you can verify that through Common Sense Media). You can also use parental controls on the devices and browsers.
It also helps to make the appropriate websites and apps highly visible and easily accessible (e.g. making a bookmarks folder or putting those child-friendly websites and apps at the opening screen). This way your child can quickly go to those good sites and apps without the need to wander and look for something else.
Internet safety for preschoolers
It’s still best to be there with our children whenever they access the internet. However, it’s just physically impossible, which is why there should be safeguards while we’re away or while we’re busy doing the cooking and other household chores. Furthermore, it can also help if you set up a schedule for internet usage so that you can monitor your child and create bonding moments.