We all know how much social media has changed in these last few years. Social media, apps, and the web now at such reach, it is getting harder to monitor and enforce what children can and can’t do online. It is no longer limited to the family PC which makes it so much more difficult to supervise and monitor the internet usage.

 There is no age filter to the content that has started to be put up, so your children could be exposed to something that could have lifelong consequences as the internet has a huge influence on children and young people. We don’t want to say that the internet is entirely a negative influence for children. Mostly the influence is positive, as it provides an essential tool for learning, a platform to build relationships and helping them find their place in the world.

However, you need to monitor your kids very closely to what they are watching and being exposed to as this has both a direct and indirect effect on every aspect of their life. You need to think of what happens if their experience is less positive and how you as a foster carer could protect them from that dark side of the web.

As a foster carer, dealing with a child’s vulnerabilities in the online world is now as vital as it is in the real one. Used properly and with adult supervision, the internet can be a great resource for young people. But like any form of communication, it also has its risks, and caregivers need to understand them to protect vulnerable young people from the dangers of the online world.

While no child is invulnerable to the dangers of the online world, those in care may be at an increased risk from improper internet use.

As a foster carer, you need to be equipped to deal with the added dangers of a child accessing the internet privately on a smartphone or tablet and try to supervise their interactions online to keep them safe from potential harm.

Risks children could face online and the affect this could have on the child if things go wrong:

Foster children may be at risk from the following:

As a foster carer, understanding and recognising the signs of fear, distress and anxiety are vital in building a positive and fulfilling relationship.

Potential impact of improper internet use, and how this could affect children:

Practical steps you can take to ensure children in your care can only access appropriate material: