Tablets are on the rise. According to Ofcom 2014, almost twice as many 5-15 year olds are going online via a tablet than in 2013.

iPods, iPads, Kindle Fires and a range of other tablets and media players can provide young people with fantastic opportunities for entertainment and education. By connecting to the internet, these devices carry out many functions and can bring a wide range of information to your fingertips (which is why some schools are now equipping their pupils with iPads). These devices, like smartphones, allow you to download ‘apps’ which carry out fun and useful functions, from checking train times to caring for a virtual pet! There are many educational apps for iPods and iPads, which you can find in the ‘Education’ section of the App Store.

app [noun] = a small, specialised software program which can be downloaded to a device to carry out a particular function (from Scrabble to Facebook!)

Tablets, such as the iPad or a Kindle Fire, function much like a laptop. They can be used to view websites and social networking sites, check emails, download files, play games, take photos and videos, watch TV and films and listen to music, plus more!

Many portable media players, such as the iPod Touch, do much more than simply store and play music. Media players with wifi connectivity can often be used to browse the internet, play games, watch web TV, stream online music, make online purchases, and if they have an inbuilt camera, take photos and videos. The newest iPod Touch even allows you to video call with the FaceTime app.

Internet safety advice is directly applicable to internet-enabled devices because risks of ContentContactConduct and Commercialism also apply:

  • Content: age-inappropriate material can be available to children Open or Close

    As devices like the iPad and iPod Touch have internet access, the risks that young people face online also apply. There are also apps which contain content that may be inappropriate for young people, for example of a sexual or violent nature. As these devices can be used for listening to music, playing games and watching TV, films and videos, you should think about whether all of this content is suitable for your child.

  • Contact: potential contact from someone who may wish to bully or abuse them Open or Close

    While they don’t allow texting and calling in the same way as phones, these devices do provide a wide range of communication channels – instant messaging apps, social networking (eg. Facebook), video calling, chatting to other players in games and emailing to name a few. This is great for young people, who love to socialise, but these channels can also allow unwanted and hurtful contact. Online communication can be used by bullies, and young people can make themselves vulnerable to contact by those with a sexual interest in children, particularly if they share their personal information.

  • Conduct: children may be at risk because of their own and others’ behaviour Open or Close

    Young people may get into difficulty if they don’t think about the consequences of the information they share, which may damage their online reputation or leave them open to contact from someone who may want to bully or abuse them. Equally, passing on gossip, photos or information among friends can be a form of bullying, so children need to think before they post or send anything.

  • Commercialism: young people can be unaware of hidden costs and advertising Open or Close

    There have been cases where children and young people have got into difficulty by inadvertently running up bills when buying apps and making in-app purchases. In addition, online and in-app advertising have increased massively over the last few years, but many young people are unaware of targeted advertising, especially if it comes in the form of a game app.