We love social media - from Twitter to Tik Tok, they give us lots of opportunities to share and engage with others. Humans are curious by nature and this is often why without even realising, you endlessly scroll for hours on social media.
Our Instagram page opened us up to a virtual network of adopters who have followed our adoption journey, and vice versa. We often relate to others posts and in turn we chat openly with those who engage with us. We often interact with the same people and this in turn can give the impression we know each other. However, in reality - unless we have met, we don’t know each other at all. We only know each other by what we see, which can give a false sense of security that we know each other.
Previously I worked as an Investigator and would often see thefts occurring as a result of the innocent sharing of a persons life on social media, not realising it gives others a huge glimpse into your home and daily life. Call me cynical (of which I am!) but sadly in this modern world, there are people who will use this information for their own gain. A harmless photo can reveal way more than what can be seen at first glance.
You’ll see that we have not shared Little Man’s name nor an image of his face. This is to ensure we have appropriate safeguarding in place, as it is likely his birth family may search for him now and/or in the future. Our family and friends are aware as they too will ensure any photographs taken of him or including him are not shared. The same way in which most childcare settings also adopt this practice. It’s to safeguard children.
Many are careful about what they share online, adopters even more so. It is important to provide appropriate safeguarding, so before posting alone, consider the following;
Keep as anonymous as possible. Don’t share your location such as the town you live in and refrain from using your real name as a username. Sadly we have heard of birth families being able to locate adopters because they openly used their real name within the username.
Images and videos - The majority of children that are adopted have been removed from their birth family and therefore sharing photos of their faces, revealing their identity, poses safety concerns due to their background. If the child is still cared for by the Local Authority, it is likely they will not allow you to post images online. This applies to schools and all childcare facilities which often use images of children in their marketing and social media. A lot of information can be gained from a photograph that was posted or shared.
A question we get asked frequently is “What’s his background?”, but is a question we do not answer. Naturally all children will grow up but is it right that others may know their background before they are old enough to understand? No. The UK Adoption Community is a community made up of thousands of adopters, but that doesn’t mean we know each other. We limit what others are told, and those who need to know are told, if appropriate. This is the childs life story - not others opportunity to know all details about the reason why a child is adopted.
Appropriate language, our previous blog about appropriate adoption language doesn’t only apply to others but to all parents, including us. It isn’t appropriate to be speaking badly of the birth parent, again your child will have access to that as they get older. It may feel incredibly hurtful to read online posts in which the parents are speaking badly of the birth parents.
How will the image be perceived? Sadly we have all heard of cases where employers and others may search the internet by searching under a name, to identify questionable images posted online. We all know the dangers of posting online - once shared with the world, it’s out there for all to see.
Finally, many adopters refer to their child online by using nickname. As all parents do, this keeps others from knowing their name, another safeguarding step.
We hope this explains the importance and dangers of the online world, and goes some way to explaining why there is certain information we do not share about Little Man - we just want to keep him as safe.