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Safer Internet Centre

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Tablet use on the rise

Ofcom’s latest report, Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report, has revealed that almost half of children aged 5-15 go online using a tablet computer, twice as many as in 2013.

Interestingly, tablets are close to taking over as the main device that children use to access the internet at home, coming in second place after laptops/netbooks as the device 5-15s ‘mostly’ use to go online.

This increase may be down to the fact that young people’s access to tablets has now grown. Seven in ten children aged 5-15 now have access to a tablet computer at home and ownership of tablets has almost doubled, with one in three (34%) children aged 5-15 now owning their own tablet computer. 

With tablet use on the rise it is important that young people are given the advice and protection they need to manage their online lives.  Like a laptop, tablets can be used to view websites and social networking sites, chat with friends by text and video, check emails, download files, play games, take photos and videos, watch TV and films and listen to music. By maintaining an open dialogue with your child and encouraging them to talk to you about their internet use parents can help children access the amazing resources the internet has to offer whilst keeping them safe online. 

Childnet's conversation starters for parents provide a good place to start:

  1. Ask your children to tell you about the websites and apps they like to use and what they enjoy doing online
  2. Ask them about how they stay safe online. What tips do they have for you, and where did they learn them? What is OK and not OK to share
  3. Ask them if they know where to go for help, where to find the safety advice, privacy settings and how to report or block on the services they use
  4. Encourage them to help someone! Perhaps they can show you how to do something better online or they might have a friend who would benefit from their help and support
  5. Think about how you each use the internet. What more could you do to use the internet together? Are there activities that you could enjoy as a family?

It’s also worth being aware of the parental control tools available that can help. Our Parents’ Guide to Technology has FAQs about tablets and a guide to setting up parental controls on the iPad. You can also set up filters with your home internet provider, to help limit the chance of your child stumbling across pornography while browsing the web on their tablet. Check out our how-to video guides to help you get started.

Our leaflet for parents ‘Supporting Young People Online’ provides information and advice for parents and carers on supporting young people online.  It can be download for free from our the Childnet website and is available in 12 languages.  There are also a number of hot topics that give information on a range of topics affecting young people including downloading, gaming and social networks.

Ofcom’s full report can be downloaded here: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/media-literacy/media-use-attitudes-14/Childrens_2014_Report.pdf