Internet Safety for Foster & Birth Children
Internet Safety Day
Do you find yourself peering over the shoulder of your children whilst they are on the internet for reasons only to ensure they are staying safe? Each year UK Safer Internet Centre coordinate the UK Safer Internet Day as a way of championing for our young people’s safety whilst on the internet. This year’s theme is ‘Lets create a Better Internet Together’ where children and young people are being encouraged to celebrate the positive aspects of the internet whilst thinking about what more can be done by themselves, adults and the internet industry to continue to make the internet a safer place.
Hundreds of organisations get involved to support Safer Internet Day, including us at Lorimer! We take the safety of our young people, foster children and birth children, extremely seriously and as such we provide thorough training to all of our Foster Carers on Internet Safety. Children and young people, particularly foster children, are at greater risk of the dangers of technology and we all need to do our utmost to protect them.
What are the risks?
As a young person or as a parent or carer, it is important to know of the risks posed to us on the Internet. We need to wise up to the fact that we are living in an ever changing technologically-capable society making it harder for us to stay one step ahead. With endless apps, games and popular websites available, the Internet offers limitless opportunities. New technologies are integral to the lives of all young people and with more and more jobs using technology, it is essential that children and young people tap into the potential of the digital world if they are to enjoy their childhood and need we say it, succeed in life!
However, with such freedom comes major risks. There have been significant developments in webcam-based chat, location-based services, the use of internet-enabled and wifi-enabled portable media devices, the participation of children aged under 13 on social networking sites, and online gaming to name just a few. Children and young people want to take advantage of these opportunities that new technologies can offer to stay ‘in touch’ with their peers but they need to be able to deal with any risks that arise and that is where we come in.
As adults, we need to feed them the information and skills needed to be digitally literate. Billy West, Team Manager at Lorimer Fostering stated that “As an independent fostering agency we have a huge responsibility in ensuring the children in our care are safeguarded from the dangers both online and offline. All our Foster Carers are fully trained on Internet Safety, how to minimise the risk and what signs to look out for.”
For some it may feel daunting, but you don’t need to be an Internet expert to help children understand the risks of technology and enjoy it safely and responsibly.
Tips for Foster Children
If you are a Foster Carer of Lorimer Fostering then you should have already received your resource pack to support you further.
Don’t worry if not because here are some helpful tips you need to share with the young people on how to deal with any risks that may arise along with some useful websites you/they can turn to for further information on internet safety:
1. Do not give out personal information such as your address, telephone number, parents/carers’ work address/telephone number without permission.
2. Tell someone immediately if you come across something that makes you feel uncomfortable.
3. Never agree to meet with someone face-to-face whom you “meet” online.
4. Talk with your parents/carers about posting pictures of yourself or others online and do not post any pictures that may be considered inappropriate.
5. Do not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make you feel uncomfortable and report them to an adult.
6. Talk with your parents/carers to set up rules for going online and using a mobile phone. Decide upon the time of day that you can be online, the length of time and appropriate areas to visit. Do not access other areas or break these rules without their permission.
7. Do not give out passwords to anyone (even your best friends) other than parents/carers.
8. Check with your parents/carers before downloading or installing software or doing anything that could possibly be harmful for your computer or mobile device or jeopardize your family’s privacy.
9. Young people probably know more than most adults about the latest technology so get them to show you, teach you a few things and generally have a little fun whilst learning. It will not only be educational for you but is a good way to bond with teenagers!
http://www.netsmartz.org/NetSmartzKids (Various video clips for ages 5-17)