We live in a digital age, meaning foster parents are unable to avoid dealing with safe access to the internet. These days, children can get online using any device including smartphones, TVs, consoles, computers, tablets, and much more. Unfortunately, this means more vigilance across all devices, which can be tricky. Throughout this article, we’ll give you a hand by offering tips for keeping your foster children safe online.
Set Screen Limits
Before computers and consoles existed, there was a life outside of the screen. Believe it or not, it’s still there and you should encourage your child to live in it, especially when they’re at a young age. Although there are no laws governing screen time, here are the general rules:
- Zero screen time for children under 18 months.
- Between 18 months and 2 years old – limited access to suitable apps under supervision.
- 2-5 years old grants no more than 1 hour of screen time, but an adult should use it with them.
- Aged 6 and over – need limited screen times and constant direction towards suitable content.
In the modern age, many children need computers to complete homework. If this is the case, don’t deduct this from computer allowances. Further, if you need help buying laptops for homework, head over to your agency’s website and ask about allowances – you will find a dedicated allowance section over at fosterplus.co.uk.
Place Computer Devices in Common Areas
The best way to limit screen access is to place devices in common living areas and put a ban on screens in bedrooms. Doing this lets you monitor content and manage the amount of time they’re using a computer or other device. Further, you should tell your foster child that all devices – including smartphones – need to be left outside of their room at all times.
Check Privacy Settings
Speak to your foster children and find out if they’re using any social media platforms and conduct a privacy check-up. For example, you can change post visibility to only be seen by friends. Further, if apps use geo-location, make sure it’s turned off. The biggest culprit for this is Snapchat, which introduced the “Snapmap” back in 2017 and each profile was set to viewable by default. The Snapmap essentially pinpoints someone’s location and can be seen by friends.
Discuss Potential Dangers of Internet
There’s no point in terrifying your foster children about the dangers of the internet, but you do need to discuss them. Instead of laying it on thick, break it up into small sessions and ask questions regularly to make sure the information has been retained.
Install a Parental Control Tool
Practically all devices come with parental control settings these days. To access these, you will need a PIN, meaning your foster child can’t change anything. You can set screen limits as well as restrict access to adult content.
The internet is a fantastic place for children to learn about the world, but it’s also full of dangers if not used properly. Access parental settings for all devices, and make sure you set rules around device use in the home.