In this short video for adoptive parents, author Eileen Fursland explains some of the difficulties that can arise from birth family search and contact via social media.
Adopted children can be more vulnerable online because their early experience can make it more difficult to cope with interaction and relating with others on social media, and because of the potential for unplanned birth family contact. For example, children’s experiences of trauma, loss and disruption can make it more difficult in later childhood to understand other people, and to control their emotions and behaviour. These are factors that can increase the likelihood of encountering problems when social networking and using social media.
Birth family contact can be a very emotional encounter for the child, and the birth family, when it’s conducted using normal channels involving advance preparation and initial contact via an intermediary. But using social media such as Facebook, contact can be instant, and expose parties to an emotional situation for which they are unprepared, as well as to potential safety issues.
Eileen emphasises that it is normal for an adopted child to be curious about their birth family and their origins and recommends acceptance, openness and dialogue with your child about their adoption, as well as discussing potential contact scenarios with your child before they occur as a way of increasing the child’s emotional resilience in advance of any contact.
Finally, Eileen recommends thinking about your own and your child’s online privacy, particularly if you don’t want to be found, and learning with your child how to keep your personal information private online.
The video also hears from an adoptive parent about their real life experience.
Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre
Eileen Fursland: Create and Communicate.
Books by Eileen Fursland