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Early Years resources

Free online safety teacher resources

While children in Early Years use their devices differently than older children, they still face potential harm. That’s why it’s important to give them the skills they need to make safe choices as they grow.

From child-friendly apps and games to resources that support balanced screen time, our Early Years resources offer teachers the insights they need to support children under 5.

Free early years resources for teachers and parents.

What online risks do children in Early Years face?

The digital world offers a variety of benefits to children and young people, but children in Early Years might not understand the harmful risks they face online. Below are common online safety issues that children under 5 might experience. See what they are and how teachers can help them stay safe.

Inappropriate content

Most social media and gaming platforms require users to be 13-years-old or older. However, Ofcom’s 2023 report found that 23% of 3-4-year-olds and 30% of 5-7-year-olds already have a social media profile.

Additionally, only 42% of parents in the previous year’s report could identify the correct minimum age for using social media. Children at this age don’t understand the reasons behind age requirements. So, it’s important for parents to stay informed to minimise the risk of seeing inappropriate content online.

Inappropriate content can include anything not suitable for a child’s age such as:

  • pornographic videos or images
  • nasty language
  • hate speech
  • content promoting eating disorders and self-harm
  • images or videos showing violent or cruel acts
  • sexism or misogynistic content

Children in Early Years are unlikely to search for this content online. However, while parental controls and restrictions will usually filter out inappropriate content, some may slip through.

It’s important to teach parents how to monitor their child’s online use at this age to ensure they are not harmed by content that is not appropriate for their age.

Additional reading

Screen time

75% of children aged 3-4 use tablets as their main device with 41% using smartphones. Most use video-sharing platforms like YouTube or YouTube Kids. Children in Early Years use devices to watch TV, send messages and streaming websites.

30% of parents report struggling to manage their 3-4-year-old’s screen time. Support from educators is vital in helping parents manage online harms and helping children understand how to balance screen use.

Balanced screen use means using devices for different purposes. This might include passive activities like watching TV or videos, but this should make up a small portion of overall screen use. Active screen time includes doing activities to teach life skills, reading, counting and more.

It also means taking breaks from digital to focus on offline activities.

Additional reading

Which apps and platforms do under-5s use?

Learn about highly-rated apps and platforms for children under 5 that many use to understand and interact with their world.

Resources to share with parents

Share these free online safety resources suitable for Early Years with parents to help keep children safe. Featuring further information and interactive family activities, these resources can help parents lay the foundation for online safety education.

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Guide to apps

Help teach children in early years how to use their devices in different ways. This guide features apps and games that help children learn life skills they can take with them.

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A family with devices and icons symbolising agreement.

Digital agreement

Help children think about how much time their families spend on devices with this family agreement template. Have families create one together to teach those in early years good screen time balance.

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Image of girl with parent looking at a smart device

0-5 online safety advice

Give parents online safety advice tailored to their child in early years. From expert guidance to platforms for children, encourage parents and carers to explore young ones’ interests and safety early.

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An early years child uses a tablet to play video games.

Gaming guide

As children in early years grow, they are likely to play online video games if they aren’t already. This guide can help get them started safely to start building good habits early.

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Other online safety resources

Guides
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Tackling online hate and trolling
As children spend more time interacting with each online, it's important to help them recognise behaviours that can spread harmful content. The growth of hate speech and trolling online can often have real-world consequences so equipping them with the tools to address these issues is essential.
As children spend more time interacting with ...
Guides
OnlineSafety-1200x630
Online Safety Guide
Children’s use of the internet is becoming more mobile and interactive offering young people more opportunities to interact and meet new people, so it’s never been more important to make sure you are helping your child stay safe in the digital world.
Children’s use of the internet is becoming ...
Guides
InternetManners-1200x630
Internet manners
We’ve created a list of what we think are the top “Internet Manners” (or netiquette) to help you and your children get to grips with behaviours that can help maintain a safer internet.
We’ve created a list of what we ...
Guides
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Parent pack: Posters
Use our range of posters to raise awareness of online safety at parents evenings, one-to-one sessions or as a simple take-away.
Use our range of posters to raise ...
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