The Internet has no age limits - it's just as good a tool for a middle-aged member of the workforce as it is for a little tyke who's not yet in school. There are very few things that online-capable devices can't do these days - they're used for watching TV, videochatting with friends, reading books, learning a new skill and so on.
As such, Canadian parents are increasingly allowing their kids to go online at an early age, according to a recent AVG Technologies study. It's so simple to do - mom and dad just have to find an Internet service provider (ISP) that works well for them, have the connection set up and they're all set.
What should parents, then, know about letting their little ones go online?
Everyone's doing it
According to the report, about 90 per cent of Canadian children between the ages of 3 and 5 are extremely well-versed in using the Internet, The Canadian Press detailed. That being said, Canada wasn't ranked No. 1 in this category - 97 and 96 per cent of Brazilian and British children, respectively, could say the same thing.
The source also explained that about 48 per cent of Canadian parents let their kids go online between 2 and 5 hours every week, while 40 per cent noted that they like to restrict this time to under 2 hours each week. Moreover, 6 per cent of Canadian moms set their young child up with an email address.
The Canadian Press also pointed out that the report found that more than half of 3 to 5 year olds in Canada can use a mouse, play a basic computer game and turn the device on and off. From there, 40 per cent can navigate a tablet or smartphone and 19 per cent can use the Internet well.
What can parents do?
The fact is that, during this day and age, spending a lot of time online isn't really a bad thing. Sure some moms and dads might want their little ones to head outside, meet other kids and get some exercise, but all in all, using the computer can have a ton of perks. For instance, having information from all around the world available at any time at their fingertips can transform any device into a great learning resource.
Plus, using the Internet can be an interesting an innovative way for kids to connect with friends and family from the comfort of their own home. Parents just have to make sure they monitor computer use and teach their children best practices when it comes to going online, and they'll be sure to raise safety-conscious, informed individuals who are evolving with the digital times.
Safety is key
Going on the Internet is almost a right of passage, and is definitely an inevitability at this point. As such, arming their sons and daughters with the right information to keep them safe online is in parents' best interests. For instance, The Canadian Red Cross recommended placing computers in public areas of the house, having an open door policy regarding being honest about Internet activities and looking into placing parental controls on Internet-enabled devices.