Internet for toddlers
Internet use among Swedes continues to increase, even among two and three year olds. Families' youngest members use the mobile and the tablet computers to get online. Ninety percent of the Swedish population has Internet access, and though the spread of use seems to have come to a stop, that's not true for the youngest set. More than half of all 3-year-olds is surfing the net, according to a new study. “It looks like we can expect Internet use to become a daily activity even for toddlers,” says Janne Elvelid project leader for the study “Svenskarna och internet” (Swedes and the Internet).
“We have looked at the debut age, when over 50 percent of a certain age group begins using the net. It has gone down one year for every year we’ve conducted this survey, and now we’re down to three years.” Smartphones and tablet computers have made the Internet accessible for even small children who might have difficulties using a mouse and keyboard.
And the tablet computer is especially popular among families with children; one out of three Swedish families says they have one. Elvelid believes it’s unnecessary to think of Internet surfing as dangerous for small kids: “If you look at these toddlers you see that they cannot handle writing a web address or search for something. The truth is that the chance of them getting exposed to something inappropriate is fairly low, I think.” However, Jan Christofferson at Statens Medieråd (the Swedish Media Council), still thinks it’s best to check what the little ones are up to when they’re online so they are protected against things that may appear as uncomfortable or scary. “Just like you wouldn’t let little children out in traffic on their own, you ought to stay nearby when they are online and in contact with other media,” he says.