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How to deal with the challenges of social media and potential birth family contact

Social Worker Julia offers her top tips.

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What’s the best way to protect my child on social media?

By becoming adept at on each platform so that you know exactly how (technically) you can keep them safe. Sign up for Snap Chat, Tik Tok, Insta and get involved.  Check out www.internetmatters.org.uk for more details. It’s a good idea to try and pre-empt any issues that might occur by having conversations about social media and how it can be used. Check out this useful guide from Young Minds.

How early should I start talking to my child about the challenges of social media?

We often find that it is children with unanswered questions about their adoption who are most likely to seek their birth relatives on social media. By talking regularly, starting young and using their life story book, their questions can be answered and the quest for further information can be reduced by someone they trust.

My child wants to go on social media what should I do?

  • Make sure privacy settings are set to allow only friends to see content
  • Encourage your child to give you their password
  • Disable location services and ensure it isn’t stated in their bio
  • Don’t use a photo of themselves for their profile

What should I do if my child tried to contact their birth family?

In the first instance, it’s good to discuss with your child what they want to know and see if you can answer their queries for them.  Explain that their adoption agency recommends using official channels like the letterbox system to communicate with birth families since this method is safe and monitored and can be supported by both professionals and you as parents.

My teen always has their location on on Snap Chat – could her birth family find her through that?

It’s possible and it’s also possible that other undesirable people could use this to locate/track them so we would always encourage this facility to be disabled.

Should I follow my child on social media?

Absolutely. There’s a great saying that you shouldn’t put on social media anything you wouldn’t put up on an 80 foot billboard and following your child means you’re in touch with what they’re up to.

What if a birth family member gets in touch?

Take a screen shot of their message and then block them. We’re here to help in circumstances like these and can discuss the best way forward for you and your child so please contact your local Family Adoption Links support team.  Find their details here.

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