When was the last time you thought about your foster child’s internet use? If it’s something you haven’t really considered before now, then you definitely aren’t alone.
The internet has become so far ingrained into our everyday lives, that we don’t often think about the potential problems it can cause. One of the biggest benefits the internet has provided, is the ability to stay in touch with friends and family. It’s changed the way in which we communicate and children often have their own social networking accounts to keep in touch with their friends.
However, without proper supervision, these sites can cause serious safety concerns. From cyber bullying to online predators – it’s vital you take appropriate measures to protect your child online.
Monitoring social media
If your foster child does have their own social media account, it’s worth monitoring their activity. Obviously if you’re dealing with a teenager this can be tricky! To adolescents, privacy is everything. If you try to monitor everything they do, it’s could be harmful to your relationship.
The problem is, teenagers are the most likely to end up getting into trouble online. Not only are they at risk of abuse and cyber-bullying but they are easily exposed to strangers and individuals you may approve of them socialising with in the “real world”.
So how can you stop this from happening? You need to handle it on an individual basis. Some teenagers are more responsible than others so they may not need as much monitoring. If you feel your foster teen does however, you can try the following:
If the computer is in a busy area, your teen is less likely to do something they shouldn’t. Of course, your teen could still get around this by using a mobile or tablet device in their room. However, you could impose restrictions on that too, getting them to hand their phone over at bedtime or keeping their tablet it in a locked drawer for example.
We know it can be difficult monitoring teenagers online these days. The above advice can help, but ultimately there is only so much you can do as a carer. Having a good line of open communication and ensuring your foster teen trusts you is a good start.
Do you have any tips for our carers on how to keep their teens safe online? We’d love to hear from you over on our Facebook page.