Teens already have so much on their plate when it comes to growing and developing into responsible young adults. Throwing them into the complex world of navigating contact with birth family via social networking, maintaining confidentiality, as well as keeping emotions in check. Well, it's just a lot to handle for anyone at any age.
Teach your child about the safety and privacy settings on Facebook and MySpace.
Inform your child to be careful with information posted on social networking pages.
The British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) suggests talking to your children about not identifying themselves in photos or "tagging." The group further explained to talk to friends and family about not tagging your child in pictures as well.
Show them how to set their social networking profiles to private and not public.
Explain the importance of not adding their date-of-birth, address, school information, or other personal details to their profile.
Teach them how to block users.
Contact through the Internet is immediate. Messages sent are immediate. Teach them to delay posting responses, especially when emotional, for at least 24 hours. Encourage them to share any messages that they find upsetting or overwhelming with you, their therapist, a social worker, or other trusted adult.
Talk to your child about making contact with birth family online. Explain how preparation and support may be in their best interest and that there are better ways to go about contact. If in a foster care situation, ask the social workers how they feel about online contact. In an adoption situation, whether or not your children search for their birth parents through social networking sites is truly out of your control once a child hits a certain age. Choose to be proactive and open up a dialogue with your child now about social networking sites and adoption reunion.
As a foster or adoptive parent, make sure you join the same social media pages that your children have joined and become their online "friend."