Nikki has recently been on a safeguarding course and one of the main messages from an online safety officer Simon Aston, was about the use of screen time for Early Years children – not just that under 2s should not be on them at all but where in the house older children are using them i.e. ideally having a digital free zone, not in the bedrooms and always with an adult supervising at a young age. A few months ago a child of 5 was the youngest to be groomed in the area and it is rising!

We are here to support parents to manage the risk rather than get rid of the risk. Simon talked about not taking tablets/phones away from children but rather teaching them how to use them safely in the right environment. The analogy he used was like when we teach our children to ride a bike – we put stabilisers on a bike with a handle so we have control of it and a helmet then we progress to no stabilisers, pads and a helmet, holding them until they have their balance. Why then give a child a phone where they can potentially access the world and let them get on with it alone with no support?

An on-line resource in a ’book’ form can be found on:

https://www.childnet.com/resources/smartie-the-penguin

Also there is a phone app called ‘Netaware’ by the NSPCC for tips to have online safety awareness.

Digital Parenting is a free online safety guide: https://parentzone.org.uk/digitalparenting