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Staying safe online

It’s not unusual nowadays to see young children using a tablet or phone to watch programmes or or play games online. However, Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, has called for internet and online safety to be taught from the age of 4. Although ICT lessons are teaching older children about the importance of staying safe online, young children are using technology more and more and need to learn the basics of internet safety.

According to the CEOP Command (formerly the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre), half of 3- to 4-year-olds use tablets, and this means that the adults caring for them need to be confident to support children online.

In addition to the many things that young children can do online, technology is now used to teach children about the world around them (meeting the regulatory frameworks’ objective of understanding the world).

Apps such as Little Digits Finger Counting use interactive characters to build on number knowledge. If you’re encouraging independent learning then Justin’s World - Lettersounds supports children learning in smaller groups. And if you’re supporting those who are growing in confidence then Reading Eggs will engage inquisitive minds. Alongside using the camera to take pictures of their surroundings and the voice recorder to explore, there are many opportunities for growth through technology.

There’s no doubt that the internet is here to stay, and that today’s children will grow up online in a way that was inconceivable even only half a generation ago.  With this in mind, it is vital that all of us who work with children move into the digital age too.

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