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Safety Tips by Age - 5-7-Year-Olds

Five- to seven-year-old kids are at a cognitive stage where they like routine and predictability. They use simple “cause and effect” reasoning, and enjoy make-believe play.

They are developing their morals, building an understanding of “right” and “wrong”, and are not questioning authority. They like being social and sharing ideas, and are generally positive and accepting. They start developing their identity, and like to feel “grown up”.

Attitudes towards media

Kids this age have trouble telling the difference between fantasy and reality. They accept what they see at face value, including advertising messages whose logos, slogans and mascots they have been able to recognize since early childhood.

They trust characters and people they see in the media, which makes them particularly vulnerable to stereotypes. They identify with fictional heroes and often re-enact activities they have seen on TV, in movies or in video games.

Online issues

There are a number of issues related to this age group:

  • The ease of moving from appropriate to inappropriate sites
  • Exposure to soft sell or "edutainment" – commercial games and online environments that are promoted as being educational, but exist to market and sell products
  • The use of branded characters, games and activities on commercial sites to build brand loyalty and influence parental spending

Safety tips

  • Always sit with your kids at this age when they are online.
  • Create a personalized online environment by limiting your kids to their list of favourite or "bookmarked" sites.
  • Use kid-friendly search engines or ones with parental controls.
  • Keep Internet-connected computers in an open area where you can easily monitor your kids' activities.
  • Investigate Internet-filtering tools as a complement – not a replacement – for parental supervision.
  • Protect them from offensive "pop ups" by disabling Java on your computer or using blocking software.

  • Don't let your kids use instant messaging, e-mail, chat rooms or message boards at this age.
  • Encourage them to come to you if they come across anything online that makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened. (Stay calm. If you "freak out" they won't turn to you for help when they need it.)
  • Start teaching kids about privacy. Tell them never to give out information about themselves, their family or their friends while online. Have your kids use an online nickname if a site encourages them to submit their names to "personalize" the Web content.
  • Start talking to your child about marketing and consumerism.
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