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Safer Internet Centre

Do you have a cyberbullying or digital safety concern?

helpline@saferinternet.org.uk 0844 381 4772

Social workers

Key advice for social workers about understanding the impact of digital technologies on child protection.

It is vital that social workers:

  • have a knowledge of the latest online threats, risks and trends in online communications and social networking
  • understand the impact of technology on the lives of children and young people
  • consider the use of technology by parents and carers which may impact on family function
  • include relevant questions in family assessments to gain an understanding of the role of technology
  • structure interventions which support appropriate use of technology within families

Below we set out some FAQs and some key resources

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.

FAQs

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. 

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 helpline@saferinternet.org.uk

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

Where can I get online safety training for social workers?

We offer a range of training for social workers: 

Online Safety Live is a programme of free events right across the UK designed exclusively for professionals working with children and young people. 

Social Care and Online Safety Toolkit (SWGfL)

E-safety training for social workers (SWGfL)

How can I support foster carers and adoptive parents?

We have created leaflets and supporting advice for foster carers and adoptive parents, including advice about how to manage contact with birth families and how to manage privacy and confidentiality. 

Visit www.saferinternet.org.uk/fostering-adoption to find out more. 

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. 

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

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.