The Internet is well charted territory for many of us these days. We use it for everything, from reading articles about family life, cooking, children, and politics to paying the bills and ordering the weekly food shop, to sharing with friends. It’s a familiar place. Yet for our younger children it can be unfamiliar, even scary.Of course the Internet is amazing for kids in terms of fun and learning. They have instant access to a wealth of information to assist them with school work, answer questions they may have or just to play the latest online game or app. Sometimes though, that instant access can be what ruins a child’s experience. They can access too much, too soon, or be unsettled when brought to an abrupt halt by a filter designed for older people.
We need something that doesn’t just shield children from adult content but provides protection that is related to their age and development. After all there are things that are ok for a seven or eight year old that a three year old shouldn’t see, and things a seven year old maybe shouldn’t find out about until they are eleven or older.
Children need boundaries online, just like the boundaries you set for your children in other areas of life. At two years old you might only allow them to play in an area you’ve made completely safe, but at ten you’d happily allow them to play outside, or to visit their friends who live nearby. When they are teenagers there are still things you’d rather they didn’t do, films you’d rather they didn’t view, and web sites you would prefer they didn’t visit, but there’s far more you will allow them in their teenage years than when they were younger.
You should be able to allow your child to explore the Internet, safe in the knowledge that the content they access has been checked by someone who cares. You want to be able to set boundaries in terms of content you are comfortable with your child viewing on the Internet and be confident they won’t encounter anything that is inappropriate for their age, and then have the quantity and range of content available to them grow as they grow.
And wouldn’t it be great if such a high level of safety was accompanied by friendly guidance, so your child was never brought to an abrupt halt, but instead gently redirected to age-appropriate content relevant to their initial click?
We think of it as better Internet for kids.