“One in four under the age of two and more than a third of three to five year olds have their own tablet”, according to research.
Toddlers’ use of apps, websites and the internet has exploded to such an extent that the average pre-school child, including under twos, spends more than an hour a day online, rising to two hours or more a day for a third of five to six-year-olds, according to the report compiled for the department of culture.
Tablets are so widely used by toddlers that baby equipment manufacturers have launched special iPad holders to fit onto baby high chairs, car seats and strollers with “a water resistant surface that guards [the iPad] against spills, dribbles and drools.” They are available on Amazon for under £10.”
“I am very concerned about screens for babies,” Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner told The Telegraph.
“It is deeply depressing and has no place in the baby equipment list.”
According to the review by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, which reports to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, rising internet use among very young children is one of the key trends since its last research six years ago.
Children are also spending more time online and have shifted from shared to personal devices.
Babies and toddlers tend to use tablets, largely because other devices require reading or typing abilities Young children in the UK are more likely to own a tablet than those in any other EU country, often hand-me-downs from an elder sibling or parent.
Lead author Professor Sonia Livingstone pointed to research by Sheffield University which found pre-school children spent 1hr 19mins a day on a tablet during the week and 1hr 23mins at the weekend.
Under 3s were online more as they did not have nursery or as many organised weekend activities.
More than half of the under twos knew how to swipe, a third knew how to unlock the tablet and take a picture and 28% used gaming apps, rising to 56% of three to five-year olds.
YouTube is the most popular app followed by Cbeebies and Angry Birds.
Mainstream games including Minecraft, Temple Run and Candy Crush already feature in under 5s’ top 10 apps.
There were benefits in that more than 40% of families used it to support their children’s learning, play and creativity but there were risks with a tenth of the pre-schoolers having been exposed to content that made their parents feel uncomfortable.
Almost a third of three to four year olds, and 16% of children up to two years old had seen adverts that they had asked their parents about.
One in ten parents said their child had made an in-app purchase by accident and 7% had bought something online without permission.
Firstly, parents who are giving their children a tablet before the age of 2 really need to set proper internet controls from the beginning.
As stated above children can operate and manoeuvre their way around an iPad or Tablet extremely easily. Imagine how easy it is for them to stumble across inappropriate content?
Parents can easily protect their children on tablets with iKydz. iKydz is a parental control app and device which allows parents to set schedules, block adult content and games or apps that are not appropriate for children.
With one app on the parent’s phone, they can set Youtube age restrictions so their children cannot access videos that are not appropriate for them.