This Christmas, children all over the UK are likely to be unwrapping more and more tablet computers.
Tablets are the second regularly used media device behind a TV set, with 44% of 5-15 year olds regularly using a tablet according to Ofcom*.
While they are a great ways to keep children entertained playing games, watching YouTube videos and learning, tablets are not toys - and many are aimed at adults.
As with any internet-connected device, as a parent or guardian you need ensure they don’t access unsuitable content either by activating parental controls or choosing a device specifically aimed at younger users.
Internet Matters, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to keeping children safe online, has a wealth of free advice to help parents including tips on what parental controls are and an interactive guide to activating parental controls on tablets, smartphones, televisions and more.
If you are buying a tablet for your child, here are five devices to consider. We’ve picked those aimed at children, and others which have safety features specially designed for little ones.
Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet
£99.99 from Amazon
This 7-inch tablet is packed with safety features including parental controls for managing screen time and the ability to restrict the type of content they can watch
The child-friendly browser children access websites and YouTube videos appropriate to their age, checked by Amazon’s experts.
You get a year’s subscription to the Fire Kids Unlimited store, where you (or they) can safely download 5000+ apps, videos and games aimed at children from 3-to-12 years old.
Choose from a pink or blue kid-proof case; if your child breaks it within two years, Amazon will replace it for free – great news for little fingers.
Price £89.99 from Argos
Leapfrog makes tablets aimed specifically at children. Its ‘Epic’ device is based on the Google Android operating system but features a customisable home screen which kids can design and play with.
LeapFrog works closely with educators to develop apps and games that help children develop their skills in subjects including: Maths, Science, Reading and Writing and Life Skills.
The Epic, which has a 7-inch screen, doesn’t include in-app purchases or harmful adverts and the LeapSearch Browser lets children purely access content approved by LeapFrog’s educators, so there’s no chance of them seeing anything inappropriate.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids
Price: £199, from Samsung
Samsung’s rather pricey tablet is a child-friendly version of its adult Galaxy Tab, complete with kid-proof bumper.
It runs Android, but it has been redesigned for children, with large icons on the 7-inch screen. Apps, games and e-books can be downloaded from a special app store designed for kids.
Parental controls are on-board and a nifty time-management feature allows the tablet to be locked down after a certain time of day.
Kurio 8.9-inch Smart Windows Kids Tablet
Price £159.99 from Argos
Kurio’s tablet is a bit different from the others here. It runs Windows 8.1 and, along with a year’s subscription to Windows 365 (with Word), it comes with a detachable keyboard which makes it a good choice for homework.
Windows Safety Parental Controls let parents set time limits, block apps and filter inappropriate internet content.
Tesco Hudl 2
Price: £99 from eBay
We’re a big fan of the Tesco Hudl 2: it’s a good Android tablet with a 8.3-inch screen, but it’s also great for family use thanks to its Child Safety app.
You can use this to create a separate account for each child, so they can use a profile you’ve customise by blocking web content by category, restricting apps and setting time limits.
Tesco sadly discontinued the tablet but you can still find it available online.
For tips and advice on how to ensure your child uses their tablet safely, check out our article Tablet safety tips for parents and children.
For a comprehensive and easy to use resource of the most up-to-date information for keeping your child safe online, check out Internet Matters.
*Ofcom Children and parents: media use and attitudes report 2016