Emma’s fostering blog
It’s a tricky one managing social media and I guess we need to understand it’s a connection to their world which is very different to when I was a teenager. All we can do is help them to learn what is and isn’t appropriate.
We know our teens will push boundaries as they push for independence and adulthood. With Sam who is 12 years old it’s easier there are apps that can limit and see what she can use, and I can see where she is when she is out. For now she is accepting of this but as she gets older I’m sure she will rebel. We have an agreement between us I find this helps especially when she is arguing with me about how unfair everything is.
Mobile phones are a way of life, it’s their socialising, it’s their friendship groups, it’s how they learn, socialise, learn about the outside world, get music, learn about fashion – all the things children want to do. Everything is about social media and she is a natural at finding ways around the internet and social media. I go on training and just keep up with news on social media in general because I need to.
Rosie is 15 years old and she on the other hand has a very inappropriate attitude on social media, and before coming here she got herself involved in very risky and dangerous situations and for this reason, It’s such a pity that she has to have her internet restricted, but my primary concern is keeping her safe, and this can be so very hard to do.
I believe our role is to help them learn to keep safe in a digital world as well as a real world. I have to have a certain amount of trust that they will abide by the rules and when they don’t the phones are confiscated. At bedtime all phones are left downstairs so they can get a good night’s sleep.
There are reports that Insufficient sleep in adolescence has been linked to a range of mental health problems, obesity and poor performance at school and sleep being disturbed by notifications, and the temptation to continue online conversations into the early hours. We also restrict the internet for Sam, we have apps to keep her safe and she has to use it downstairs when we are around, we don’t allow any social media in her room.
My thoughts are no one app or setting can keep children and young people safe online, which means you need to start talking to your foster children about your concerns.
Without boundaries, kids just keep exploring. The rule; “If you wouldn’t say it, do it, or watch it with me in the room, it’s not okay.” I check their phones and tablets regularly.
Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!