The internet is made up of millions of computers around the world connected together by telephone lines, cables or satellites. It is a fantastic tool for learning, communication, shopping, reference and downloading music, pictures and games. However, in common with many other activities, the internet can also pose significant risks.
Dudley MBC has developed an Internet Safety Policy for Looked After Children which aims to provide guidance to looked after children, carers and social workers on internet safety issues. All carers are required to attend internet safety training and must be aware of the risks that children face online and how to manage them.
The key to ensuring safe and responsible use of the internet is knowledge and communication. Make yourself aware of what your children are doing on the internet and establish an agreement about using it responsibly:
Attend Internet Safety Training. It is recommended that Dudley Carers attend both the E-Safety course provided by the Virtual School and the New Technology and Sexual Exploitation training facilitated by the Safeguarding Children Board . Ask your supervising social worker to arrange it for you.
Keep personal information confidential. For example don't make your name, age, address, phone number or photograph publicly accessible. Remember anything posted on the internet stays there forever!
Get to know the services and websites that everyone in your home is using.
Make yourself aware of the risks involved in using the internet and keep up to date on reporting procedures and internet safety resources.
Help young people to understand that some people lie online and that it's better to keep online mates online. They should never meet up with strangers without an adult they trust.
Always keep communication open for a child to know that it's never too late to tell someone if anything they access or receive on the internet makes them feel uncomfortable.
Don't immediately blame the young person if they receive or access inappropriate materials - this may have been done accidentally or there may be additional issues that need to be addressed.
Make internet safety a topic for regular discussion - it takes time for children and young people to build up resilience and learn how to use the internet safely.
Agree on a set of household internet rules and revise them at regular intervals.