Pre-school (0-5)

Online safety advice

More and more pre-schoolers are using their parents’ computers, smartphones or tablets to play games, use apps, and watch their favourite TV shows. There are simple things you can do to make sure they’re using the internet safely.

Internet safety checklist for pre-school children

Use our list of practical tips to help children under-5s have a safer online experience and build up their resilience to get the best out of the digital world as they grow. You’ll also find a range of helpful tools and expert tips for further support.

Checklist: Supporting 0-5-year-olds online

Explore together

Talk to your child about what the internet is and explore it together so you can show them all the great fun and educational things they can do.

Put yourself in control

Install parental controls on your home broadband. Most Internet-enabled devices also allow you to set parental controls so you can m

Use passwords

Keep your devices out of reach and set passwords on all your internet-enabled devices and don’t share them. Then you’ll know when and where your child is accessing the internet. You can also make sure they’re not making additional purchases when they’re playing games or using apps.

Search safely

Use safe search engines such as Swiggle or Kids-search. You can save time by adding these to your ‘Favourites’. Safe search settings can also be activated on Google and other search engines, as well as YouTube.

Be involved

Encourage them to use devices in a communal area like the lounge or kitchen so you can keep an eye on how they’re using the internet and also share in their enjoyment.

Manage access

Set your homepage to a child-friendly site like CBeebies and create a user account for your child on the family computer or device which only allows access to sites you’ve chosen.

Help them learn through games

You can choose safe, fun and educational online games to play with your child and that you’ll be confident about them exploring. You can find good free of charge examples from Cbeebies and companies like Disney Junior, Nick Jr and Fisher Price.

Set boundaries

It’s never too early to start setting boundaries. Set some rules about how long your child can spend online.

Why it matters: Facts & Stats

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Screen time

On average 3 to 4-year-olds spend over 6 hours online a week

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Device use

of 3-4-year-old have their own device

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Rise in concern

Fewer parents of 3 to 4 year-olds  agree that ‘the benefits of the internet outweigh the risks’

Resources document

See our parenting digital natives report to get more insight on parents concerns about their children’s digital lives.

Featured recommended resources

What issues might affect pre-schoolers?

Here are some of our favourite resources to help you learn more about e-safety for the youngest of children. We’ve also highlighted some fun and educational apps to get them learning online.

Guides and resources for parents

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BBC iWonder Guide

As part of our new partnership with the BBC, we’ve worked together to create an interactive guide to give you practical tips on how you can keep your children safe online. It covers 7 key areas such as “Taking control with tech” and “What kind of parent am I?”.

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Digital Parenting

Vodafone’s Digital Parenting provides checklists and practical advice on keeping children safe online.

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O2 and NSPCC online safety helpline

From setting up parental controls to reporting online bullying, you can call the free helpline on 0808 800 5002, or visit an O2 Guru in store.

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Google safety tools for families

Set ground rules with Google Family Link and use a range of safety tools to help the whole family build good online safety habits.

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O2  & NSPCC NetAware

O2 and NSPCC’s Net Aware is a guide for parents of 50 of the most popular social networks, apps, and games with children. You can download it as an app or visit the site to stay informed.

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Guide to tech: Using Location tracking on kids devices

Here’s what you need to consider before deciding to share your child’s location on their device and how to best use apps that offer location tracking.

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Parent Info

Parent Info is a collaboration between CEOP and Parent Zone. It provides high-quality information to parents and carers about their children’s wellbeing and resilience. Schools can host the content on their own website and use it in any other ways (in letters to parents etc) that they want.

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Young Minds parents helpline

Young Minds Parents Helpline is available to offer advice to parents and carers worried about a child or young person under 25. Call 0808-802-5544 to get support.

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American Academy of Pediatricians 

Use the AAP’s ‏tool to create a family media plan to help you to think about media & create goals & rules that are in line with your family’s values.

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Mumsnet Guide

Advice and top tips for keeping children under five safe online.

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Guide to Monitoring apps

With the help of Pocket-lint’s Andy Robertson, we’ve given tips on how best to use them and reviewed the top apps available.

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Internet Matters Wellbeing Apps guide

We’ve scoured the best of the net to uncover popular (FREE) wellbeing apps available to download.

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Good App Guide

Use the Good App Guide to get independent reviews of children’s apps, parenting and child development advice. It is run by Fundamentally Children an organisation dedicated to helping children develop skills through play

Online safety activity to do with your child

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Smartie the Penguin

Join in with Daddy Penguin’s song and follow the adventures of Smartie and Daddy Penguin as Smartie learns how to be safe on the internet.

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Online safety story books 

Take a look at a curated list of online safety storybooks from the Kent Online Safety Blog that you can share with your child to help them understand a variety of online challenges to keep them safe.

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Jessie & friends: for 4-7-year-olds

Jessie & Friends is a series of three animations that follow the adventures of Jessie, Tia and Mo as they begin to navigate the online world, watching videos, sharing pictures and playing games.

Apps to encourage learning, creativity, and development

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Disney Junior Play

Perfect for pre-schoolers, this free app lets them play games, solve puzzles, dress up characters, watch videos and collect stickers.

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YouTube Kids

Made for young kids, this child-friendly version filters out inappropriate content and hides comments on videos giving parents peace of mind and a child a safe online viewing experience. Download as an Android or iOS app.

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Sky Kids App

The Sky Kids app offers a fun and safer way for pre-schoolers to nine-year-olds to enjoy a wide range of popular kids TV. Parents have been involved in the development of the Sky Kids app. The result is an app that kids will love, supported by safety features that parents need.

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Lingokids

Lingokids offers educational games, picture dictionary, language learning videos, songs for children to teach English to children from 2 – 8 years of age, designed with Oxford University Press content

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Duck Duck Moose Apps

Duck Duck Moose Apps are Free educational apps that allow young children to explore and learn in a safe and fun environment. The range of apps covers; reading, emotions, maths, creative expression and play.

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Fisher Price Apps

Designed for the way kids play today and can be used at home or on the go. All based on learning concepts and all free to download on iOS from Apple and Android via Google Play or Amazon.

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BBC iPlayer Kids

BBC iPlayer Kids app gives children easier access to their favourite programmes, while parents can be confident they’re watching shows appropriate for their age and free from adverts. All apps are free to download on iOS from Apple and Android via Google Play or Amazon.

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CBeebies Storytime App

This app aims to make reading fun, with playful and imaginative stories designed to help support early years reading. All apps are free to download on Apple and Android, or Kindle Fire.

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Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame

This is a digital wellbeing app using Sesame Street’s monster character to share with your child to help teach skills such as problem-solving, self-control, planning, and task persistence.

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Samsung Kids Mode app

The Kids Mode App helps to keep your children safe whilst being entertained using a Samsung smartphone or tablet. The app has a range of fun features and over 2,500 unique education and recreational apps all within a safe space.

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