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Safer Internet Centre

Do you have a cyberbullying or digital safety concern? 0844 381 4772

Residential care settings

Key advice for professionals working in residential care settings - including care homes and boarding houses - to help them understand the impact of digital technologies on child protection.

It is vital that residential care workers:

  • have a knowledge of the latest online threats, risks and trends in online communications and social networking
  • consider the use of technology by young people to maintain contact with loved ones which may impact on their care
  • implement clear boundaries and structure interventions which support appropriate use of technology
  • offer guidance and support in navigating the online world safely
  • provide an appropriate level of filtering and monitoring which safeguards young people from risky online content and contact

Below we set out some FAQs and highlight key resources which will support you in safeguarding children and young people online. 


How can I understand the latest technologies and trends?

We have some helpful guides to the most popular social media services and you can also see the NSPCC's NetAware guide

You can also sign up to our newsletter which will share our latest blogs and highlight new trends. 

For the latest research, see this series of research summaries, created by the Evidence Group of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety.

The Independent Schools Council keep a record of safeguarding guidance which is a useful tool in keeping up to date with current issues. 

How can I understand my roles and responsibilities in relation to internet safety?

Residential care homes

There is a helpful guide to internet safety and looked after children from Brent Council which includes some information about risk assessment, agreements (including a template Acceptable Use Agreement), monitoring and supervision, and support and training.

You can also see this Social Care and Online Safety Toolkit from the South West Grid for Learning, a partner in the UK Safer Internet Centre. 

The government have produced a number of documents for inspections of children’s homes which also refer to the protection of children in the online world; Children’s homes: inspection documents and Social care common inspection framework evaluation criteria. They have also produced the guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education which makes specific reference to Children’s homes.

In addition, SWGfL, a partner in the UK Safer Internet Centre, has developed a full-day training course and a toolkit specifically for social workers and professionals within social care teams who are involved in family assessments. The training was developed in partnership with South Gloucestershire LSCB and Social Work teams. It has been designed to be flexible and adaptable to existing assessment processes.


Boarding houses

The Boarding Schools’ Association offer online training which covers key aspects of boarders’ safety, procedures and policies, safeguarding and child protection issues. They also outline National Minimum Standards which include combating bullying, including cyberbullying. 

How do we ensure we are meeting the safeguarding needs of our young people?

We offer an online self-review tool called Online Compass which can be used to review online safety within your organisation and improve your online safety practice using expert advice. 

In addition you can attend Online Safety Live training run by SWGfL, a partner in the UK Safer Internet Centre. This is a programme of events designed to develop the knowledge of professionals working with young people about latest trends, the biggest trends and best resources. 

We have also produced guidance on what should be considered as ‘appropriate’ filtering and monitoring

How can I respond to online safeguarding incidents?

You can get support with handling online safeguarding incidents by contacting our helpline, the Professionals Online Safety Helpline, on 0344 381 4772 or

We have more advice about where you can report and seek further advice on our Need Help page. 

How can I protect my own professional reputation when using social media?

It is important to consider what you share on social media and who you share it with. You can use our social media guides to learn about managing your privacy on social media and read our Professional Reputation guide for more information about strategies for managing your online reputation.