4 Children and the internet
Children are going online at an increasingly young age. Ofcom (2017) reports that in 2017 over half (53%) of 3–4 year olds are now online, as are 79% of 5–7 year olds, 94% of 8–11 year olds and 99% of 12–15 year olds. For the two youngest age groups, the figures are up by 10% on the previous year.
The EU Kids Online Network project, Zero to Eight, illustrated how pervasive technology is becoming for younger children. The seven-year project, which focused on investigating children’s engagement with the internet, identified a significant increase over a five-year period of children under nine years old going online (Holloway et al., 2013). They also noted a particular trend for pre-schoolers to use tablets and smartphones to access the internet.
In the next section, you will watch a video about the risks and opportunities the internet brings to young children.