Taking care of a foster child in 2023 involves keeping them safe in the digital world. There isn’t any getting around it, as technology has become a central part of all areas including education, socialisation, and entertainment. Alongside the necessity of technology, there are more devices and platforms than ever before, which opens countless doors to potential danger online. You will need to be proactive, but there are strategies you can use to keep your foster children safe, and we’ve put them together below.
Use Parental Control Software
Every single reputable device in 2023 will come with parental control functionality, which you should thoroughly explore and use. However, you can install additional software onto computers, tablets, and smartphones, which will allow you to have greater control.
Check All Privacy Settings
There are thousands of apps and software online, and many of them allow children in your care to be contacted by strangers. Therefore, you need to speak with your foster child and ask for a list of all social platforms they’re using (verify this using the parental control software). Then, you can explore the settings and make sure only friends can communicate with them.
One of the most important settings to check is geo-location, which can tell other users exactly where your foster child is. The most dangerous platform for this feature is Snapchat, which introduced the controversial “Snapmap” in 2017. This feature allows a person’s friend to see the exact location of anyone else in their contact list. To turn this off, you will have to put the account into “ghost mode”.
Set Limitations for Screen Time
Play and socialising in 2023 often revolve around computers and games, but there’s still a world outside of the screen. Therefore, you should put the following limits in place depending on your foster child’s age:
- 6+. Persistent monitoring of content and sensible screen times.
- 2-5 years. Limited to one hour of screen time under supervision.
- 18 months – 2 years. Extremely limited access and only suitable apps.
- Under 18 months. Don’t need any screen time.
Allowing your foster child to use a computer, tablet, or console is supposed to be an enjoyable time. Therefore, you shouldn’t deduct any time from their allowance because they’ve used devices for homework. If you don’t have suitable technology to facilitate the educational needs of 2023, you can head over to fosterplus.co.uk and explore the allowances section, which may cover the cost of certain tech.
Don’t Allow Computers in Bedrooms
If you allow your foster children to take screens into the bedroom, you’ll immediately lose all control over usage. Therefore, you should set rules on where devices can be used, which will allow you to closely monitor how much time is being spent staring at a screen.
The digital world of 2023 is a fantastic resource for education, entertainment, and communication, but the clear dangers cannot be ignored. Make sure that you have clear rules in place about device usage, and don’t forget to install parental control measures.