The time has passed when parents and caregivers need not worry about telling pre-schools about cyber-safety norms, as suggested by a report named Children’s Commissioner of England. In the digital epoch, using Internet has become an integral part of a child’s daily life around the globe. The dawn of touchscreen devices have transformed the way internet is accessed by these young children, particularly for the toddlers aged between four and five. Touchscreen technologies don’t require exemplary literacy skills or motor skills as needed by mouse and keyboard.
The most recent advancement is the Internet of Things which is catching popularity around the globe. IoT uses tiny chips embedded in everyday items, even in children’s toys, to connect to internet. The cute dolls, teddy bears and figurines can record data related to data related to their play and this is uploaded to the internet as data on the web. Obviously, Children may not have any idea about it and unknowingly they are creating data.
What are the risks?
We have segregated the risks as contact, conduct and content:
- Contact risks include children communicating with strangers on the internet; another way is in the form of recording online activity during games.
- Conduct risks are about behavior. Behaving respectfully on the web and managing their digital footprints.
- Content risks have to relate to the type of content being viewed by your child when accessing the web.
Preschool students are more vulnerable to accidentally watching inappropriate content such as pornography. Other type of content risk might be the content portraying the society and the people around them in a bad light, it may affect the child. Good quality content for young children has been always a great concern for the Australian Council on Children and the Media.
On the other hand, contact risks might occur to young children in the form of pop-ups. Nowadays, virtual worlds such as Pocoyo World or Club Penguin are popular and children might be attracted to these. Here, they can engage with other members but they may have no idea about whom are they talking to.
It’s a good practice to warn your child about these risks and keep an eye on your child’s digital footprints.