With the plethora of online resources and television advertisements about online safety, you’d be forgiven for asking 'why write a pamphlet about young people and internet safety?' Well, Henrietta Bond did just that and a good job too!
The work is part of a series headlined “Things foster carers need to know about…” which sums up the content very well. Rather than throw complex technical jargon at the reader, Bond sets out to explore the key risks and impacts that unfettered use of the Internet may have on vulnerable young minds.
After the enlightening introductory quiz, the subjects are posed in question format; What is…? How does….? What are….? This style of presentation is extremely effective, and the information provided does not feel preachy and is an easy read. The pamphlet may have benefitted from a page of contents as the reader would be led to the issue at hand.
The range of topics covered is broad; while we have all had concerns over cyberbullying,
grooming and age-inappropriate content, the pamphlet offers more. Gaming, gambling, county lines, radicalisation and gang violence are also covered.
The rationale behind the answers to these questions are backed up by references to
research and guidance is signposted to familiar Internet resources with indications of how to report potentially illegal online activity.
Overall, the author wisely deflects the idea that the Internet is a place of evil, but more a place where evil can happen, drawing parallels with the real world.
If foster carers want to be informed about internet safety, they would do well to read this pamphlet.