Keeping Your Foster Child Safe Online
The Internet is a fantastic source of information and a growingly sociable place – and so using is sometimes inevitable and necessary for your foster child. However, it is sadly not always a safe place. Keeping children safe onLine is very important, but it’s even more important to monitor your foster child activity. Sadly, when a child is in care they can often be more susceptible to online dangers, such a grooming or bullying.
Due to backgrounds of neglect and abuse, an absence of supportive adults, lower self-esteem, and greater exposure to drugs and alcohol, foster children can be more likely than other children to be involved in risky activities online.The dangers of online technology that your foster child might encounter, from cyber bullying and ‘sexting’ to child grooming and online hoaxes, all need to be thought about when you have a child that uses the internet in your care.
Here we have a few words of wisdom that you need to pass on to your foster child – rules that they need to follow when using the computer.
1) NEVER post any personal information online – like your address, email address or mobile number.
2) Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself. Once you’ve put a picture of yourself online most people can see it and may be able to download it, it’s not just yours anymore.
3) Keep your privacy settings as high as possible
4) Never give out your passwords – even to those you think your can trust
5) NEVER befriend people you don’t know
6) NEVER meet up with people you’ve met online. Speak to your carer about people suggesting you do
7) Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are
8) Think carefully about what you say before you post something online
9) Respect other people’s opinions, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you are allowed to be mean or rude
10) If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: leave the website, turn off your computer and tell your foster parent immediately.
You should always remind your foster child that everything they post on the Internet is visible and available to everyone, so they need to be very sure not to put any sensitive or personal information online.