Fostering a digital era
 

Keeping foster carers up to speed in a digital era

23 September 2019

The digital world offers an array of benefits for children and young people who walk around with all-encompassing, interactive encyclopaedias in their pockets. Jobs, courses and apprenticeships can be applied for at the click of a button and staying in touch from afar has never been so easy. New interests and hobbies can be explored, while support and guidance can be sought on just about any topic.

Recurring issues around young people being online are continually flagged; most recently the detrimental impact of social media and self-established influencers on mental health and body image, the growing number of hours spent gaming or editing selfies, alongside the blurring boundaries of real life, digital privacy and the ideal-self.

There is cause and justification for growing concern among parents, schools and carers, with issues becoming more pertinent when considering children and young people in the care system. Young people that are looked after by fostering and residential services are often among the most vulnerable in the country, living away from family and already feeling different to peers. Additional risks for in these instances may include birth family contact initiation via social media even where prohibited, increased danger posed by pre-existing attachment issues in some looked after children, higher risks among this group of Child Sex Exploitation (CSE) and inconsistent role models/trusted guardians with different rules and expectations when it comes to the internet.

Gut reactions when discovering something inappropriate or worrying might include the immediate confiscation of devices, unplugging of routers and attempt to substantially limit access or enforce strict bans. Unsustainable in the first instance, adoption of these may also have a negative impact on the situation and further create barriers between young people and their carers. So, what can carers do to keep up to speed?

At Team Fostering we’re committed to putting children’s futures first and as part of this we’re running a 2-day training course for our foster carers in both our Sheffield and North Tyneside offices. The workshops will be facilitated by Training Officer Jill Mitchell and Marketing & Comms Officer Charlotte Brydon, each bringing different areas of expertise and their own experiences to discuss better ways of engaging with children and young people about online safety. Foster Carers will explore digital footprints, managing risks and where to go for support, while Jill and Charlotte will provide top tips and insights into the latest developments in ever-changing digital world.

 

Team Fostering is an independent, not-for-profit fostering agency that operates across the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands. We work hard to provide up-to-date and relevant training to all foster carers, along with competitive rates of pay and comprehensive support services. To learn more about fostering, contact us in any of the following ways:

 

 

Media enquiries: Charlotte Brydon (charlotte.brydon@teamfostering.co.uk)