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Supporting children's mental health and wellbeing
Supporting children's mental health and wellbeing

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1.2 The benefits of the internet and social media for children

Using the internet can open channels of communication that were previously unavailable to people. For those who live in remote areas of the world, who have a disability, are from a minority group (for instance intersex children who are born with Variations of Sex Characteristics) or have other restrictions on how they access information, the internet is a rich and important resource. It gives access to information that is beneficial and useful, and it also allows them to connect with others like themselves so that they can develop knowledge and understanding of the world around them.

This is a photograph of three children using a tablet.
Figure 4 Using the internet as a way of accessing knowledge

Young children have been born into a world where the internet is a taken-for-granted resource. However, the internet has only been around for the last 25 years or so and for many adults, it is still a source of wonder. Because it is relatively new, and because the ways that we can use the internet are continuously evolving, it can be tricky to know how to teach and guide children about its use. Clearly, the digital world is not going away, so it is important to identify ways that we can work together to support children and teach them how to harness the positive effects of living with screens and accessing the digital world.