Fostering Hope: A Foster Care Column
While it may be almost impossible to fully protect foster children from the dangers online, there are a number of strategies that foster parents can implement in order to better protect their foster child from these threats. As many foster children have access to computer technology at a young age, it is important to set up rules and expectations early. Foster parents of elementary children need to set clear rules for the young users. It is important that these foster parents limit time on the computer for their young foster children. It is especially important for foster parents to ensure that any personal information of their foster children is not posted online. With this in mind, it is recommended that children in elementary school do not have a social network address, as they are simply too young.
image by imagerymajestic
As many foster children long to be accepted and are simply looking for a place to “fit in,” they can easily be acceptable to online hoaxes, as well as cyber predators. Sadly, many foster children fall victim to online sexual predators. Therefore, it is imperative that foster parents teach their foster children not to be gullible while “surfing the net.” Foster parents need to warn their child never to meet a person they have met online in any face to face encounter, and that they should report to their foster parents anyone who has made such a request. Along with this, foster parents need to watch what their foster children are accessing online.
image by photostock
Dr. John DeGarmo has been a foster parent for 11 years, now, and he and his wife have had over 30 children come through their home. Dr. DeGarmo wrote his dissertation on fostering, entitled Responding to the Needs of Foster Children in Rural Schools. He is a speaker and trainer on many topics about the foster care system, and travels around the nation delivering passionate, dynamic, energetic, and informative presentations. Dr. DeGarmo is the author of the highly inspirational and bestselling book FosteringLove: One Foster Parent’s Story. He also writes for a number of publications and newsletters, both here in the United States, and overseas. Dr. DeGarmo can be contacted via email, his Facebook page, or at his website.