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Emma’s Fostering Blog

Social media

Leanne is staying for a month on respite, its two weeks in and like most teenagers she is always on her mobile phone.

There are some issues with her as apparently she keeps informing me at every opportunity that there are different rules in her Foster Carers house. Leanne thinks it’s weird that we restrict all phone, tablets, and laptops to family spaces.

I learned a long time ago that there is less opportunity to be on the phone when they should be asleep or the temptation of playing games and on the plus side more time to interact with the family. It has been an up and down couple of weeks with her she is quite miffed that her carers have gone on holiday without her, which is understandable, however she knows this was booked before she came to them as an emergency.

Yesterday she was bragging about how many followers she had on social media and then she showed me a picture -I wasn’t expecting this rather sexy pose whilst looking all seductive. I knew at that moment I needed to keep her safe; it’s scary what kids can do on their phones. EastEnders was on tonight and it just so happened they were covering the very same topic of how pictures are shared and that lead on to a good discussion in general e.g. boyfriends or friends who are not so nice, even posting photos for their friends to see that she might not want everyone to see and once out there these things hang round for ever. I don’t think she actually thought about any of this.

Now all I had to do was Stop and think about how I was going to interact with Leanne without triggering an argument so I decided as she likes to be inquisitive I would have my laptop on and have it open on the ThinkuKnow website, it’s great, has information for 8-10 and 11-13 year olds and 14 + information, games to learn how to keep safe, relationships, technology and the internet. And just as I thought, she wanted to know what I was doing so I showed her; she actually thought it was interesting so we had a look around the site together.

We often take things for granted as I don’t think anyone had actually sat down and explored using social media with her, because she was not fully aware of privacy settings so that only close friends can search for them, tag them in a photograph or share what they’ve posted. I think we are starting to build a relationship.

My thoughts are I have gone through this teenage stage before, it’s not easy and certainly for them; everything is unfair, but also complicated, far different to when I was a child. They use a wide range of social networking sites as a vital part of their relationships with others.

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!