Foster Children and the Internet: 5 Tips to Promote Safety
Being a foster carer is rewarding, and a large part of that comes from protecting children that have experienced trauma from further hardship, and that includes in the digital world. There are countless devices for accessing the internet including tablets, TVs, smartphones, games consoles and computers, which is a large number to monitor. However, through proper education and keeping up with the latest digital trends, foster carers can put up the right defences. Below, we’ll get you started with five tips for promoting online safety.
Openly Discuss the Dangers of the Internet
Whether you acknowledge them or not, the dangers in the online world are out there, so it’s best to be forthcoming with your foster children. This doesn’t mean instilling fear by using bullish tactics; instead, it involves teaching online safety in small chunks and questioning to consolidate learning.
Set Limitations on Screen Time
Despite much of the world relying on technology and the internet today, there’s a whole world out there to enjoy, and your foster child needs to experience it. Therefore, it’s recommended that screen time is limited, which often looks like this:
- Six years and over – responsible limits given and content filters installed.
- Between two and five – screen time is limited to one hour but should be under adult supervision.
- Any child below 18 months has zero screen time.
The limitations above are simply a guide, and extenuating circumstances might mean an extension. For instance, if your foster child receives computer-based homework, this shouldn’t be taken away from their allocated time. If you require help buying laptops or computers to facilitate educational needs, you can visit thefca.co.uk and navigate to the allowances tab, which will detail the financial support you will receive as a foster carer.
No Computer Usage in Bedrooms
Even if you have a “bedroom doors open” policy in your home, your foster child may still find ways to extend their screen time. Therefore, you should put rules in place to ban screens from bedrooms. By only allowing screen usage in common spaces, you’ll find it much easier to monitor the type of content your foster child sees. When it comes to smartphones, put a box downstairs and have all phones placed in it overnight.
Install Parental Monitoring Software
You will find a range of different parental monitoring software online, but the majority of devices manufactured nowadays come with pre-installed functions. Typically, you will need to enter a PIN to activate them, but then you’ll be able to filter out adult content, track app usage, view history records (even when deleted), and set screen time parameters.
Regularly Update Privacy Settings
If your foster child is old enough to use social media platforms, it’s your responsibility to ensure privacy measures are in place. For example, you can block strangers from seeing new posts, which means they can only interact with friends.
The internet can be a fantastic resource for foster children, especially when it comes to education. However, external dangers need to be managed efficiently, which means setting clear expectations, installing parental controls and inputting privacy settings.
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