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Keeping children and young people safe online

Online Safety Webp
Over the next couple of weeks, it’s likely that there’ll be an increase in online activity from our children and young people. The internet offers a wealth of opportunities, from games, and socialising with friends to being a vital tool for education. As amazing as it can be, it’s also important to understand the risks it can bring, including cyber bullying, online scams, accessing inappropriate content, and online predators.


Keeping children and young people safe online can often be a challenge for parents and foster carers alike. Fortunately, there are steps adults can take to help ensure that our youngsters have only safe and positive experiences whilst online.


Have an open dialogue and set rules

Having open and honest conversations about the risks of the internet is a great starting point to ensure online safety for our children and young people. Teach them to be aware, not to share personal information or communicate with people they don’t know, and how to approach any dangers they may face. You should also encourage them to speak with you if they ever see anything inappropriate or something that makes them feel uncomfortable.

You should also look to set ground rules surrounding the type of activities they can do online, their use of social media, the amount of time they spend on the internet, and the sites that they can visit. Make sure that once the rules are established, everyone has the same understanding and that the rules are followed.


Monitor online activities

It is important to monitor the sites and activities our children and young people are engaging in. One way to do this is by making sure all devices are kept in common areas, where you can easily glance at what they are doing. Check internet history regularly and take the time to talk to them about what they’ve been doing online. If they say something that you don’t quite understand, or something that sounds suspicious, ask them to explain more about it.


Use privacy settings and parental controls

Social media sites and some other websites have privacy settings for personal information. Setting these to the most secure level will help limit the amount of personal information that is shared online. There are also options to block or filter certain content for that extra peace of mind. You can also use parental control software to monitor online activity and block any inappropriate content that may otherwise be accessed.


Talk to others

Connect with other foster carers, your supervising social worker, your child's social worker, and the parents and guardians of your child or young person's friends. Having conversations will help you gain insight into how others protect their children online.


Be aware of signs of risky behaviour

Finally, it is important for foster carers, parents, and other guardians to be aware of the signs that their children and young people may be engaging in risky or dangerous online activities. This can include sudden changes in behaviour, spending an excessive amount of time online, or receiving calls or emails from strangers. If you notice any of these signs or any others, you should talk to your child or young person, as well as your supervising social worker, and take appropriate action.


By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your children and young people are safe online. Remember the importance of checking in regularly and giving guidance and support. Together, we can work together to ensure that our children and young people have only positive experiences online.


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Date published

19 December 2023

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