With the surge of digital activity increasing as time goes on, it’s a good idea for foster carers, foster children and foster families to make themselves familiar with some top tips on how to stay safe online. It’s especially important to be able to distinguish between fact and fiction and be able to work together so young people and children can surf the internet safely. It’s something worth looking into when you have support and training.
Fostering Dimensions have put together some top tips so everyone can play their part in making the internet a better and safer place and more importantly, to ensure the well-being of your foster children, young adults and foster carers too.
Foster carers should talk, openly
We believe that good and thorough communication is essential when it comes to safe practices online. In order to identify misuse of safe practises, it’s good to put some boundaries in place. As foster carers, you should open up the communication regarding time allowed on the internet, how they use technology and where they go for information (Eg, what search engines to use and sites to visit). It’s really important to explain why and ensure you have the mutual understanding. The most important thing you can do is listen. It will give you more of an understanding of how to support them too.
Lead by example
Talking is great but showing them is better. As foster carers, there will be a lot rules and procedures in place so showing them safe internet use may slip your mind. However, the easiest and safest way is by showing them. When you’re exploring the internet or accessing different devices, make them familiar with how to use them properly and show them what is off limits. Seeing a parent actively question and process online content teaches your foster children the importance of doing the same.
Are you checking what you share?
Fact-checking is the single most important thing you can do. It’s always tempting to share something that is surprising or attention grabbing with your foster children and family, but as foster carers, you have a duty to make sure it’s accurate and true. The reason being is that your children may believe it without questioning it. It may even be a case that older children or young adults may find it hard to point out if it’s false or inaccurate.
Foster carers should put measures in place
As part of your support and training, you will learn all about putting measures in place. Setting boundaries and monitoring activity online can be hard to do but it ensures the safety of your foster children. If children and young adults are exposed to dangerous people or misleading and abusive information, it can effect them. By regularly checking in on them and letting them know that you are there for them to talk to can really support them and help them feel at ease when using the internet.
Seek help and ask for support
Sometimes, we all need support and asking for help isn’t something to be ashamed of. Speaking to other parents is one of the best things you can do. It will help reassure you as well. Chances are that you’ll find other parents or carers who are trying to figure out how to help their family avoid false information and get the most out of the internet. Need some added support? Speak to Fostering Dimensions today.