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Can I ask your views on social media?


Our children have been with us now for four years and haven't changed much in their appearance.


Do any of you use or post pictures etc?


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I don't and we're 10 years in.....and I have really tight security settings xx


Saying that mine are teens now and do post pictures of themselves


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No, and I never would. Please read Helen Oakwater's Bubble-wrapped Children.


Tbh, I wouldn't post pics of my birth children either. I can't understand the obsession with making our whole lives public. Also, there are enough sinister characters out there who might take copies of your photos, doctor them and all of a sudden your kids images are on porn sites.


Children have a right to privacy and the real danger of being found online even years later is too much of a risk to take imo.


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I don’t and also never would. I echo Zora’s comments, AC or BC I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to post photos when they don’t have a choice. My big concern as well is how much technology moves on, I wouldn’t like my AS birth family to have a pictorial history of AS’s life by looking on social media in the future, I know there are privacy settings but it worries me how secure these will remain .


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I do agree with Zora and Lilac Lou's reservations about the parental obsession with people posting pictures of their children (and themselves) on social media.

But we've taken a different approach and have, since the children arrived with us, posted pictures on facebook of our family occasionally on holiday etc. - with family and friends scattered I find it a nice way of keeping in touch and, call me a weirdo, but I like seeing the odd photo of my nieces and nephews etc.! Our settings are set so only people we know can see, and they can't share photos. I probably have about 80 'friends' on facebook, all of whom I know.

But we've also had a 'worst case scenario' which I'll share with you as it convinced me that the 'worst case scenario' wasn't actually a disaster at all. My husband is an occasional blogger, on education issues. He blogs anonymously, and has a fairly small following. Anyway, a couple of years ago he wrote a piece using our daughters' experiences of struggles with education, and illustrated with a photo of them taken some years earlier on youngest's first day at school. His usual pieces got a few hundred, maybe a couple of thousand reads. Anyway, this one, in the lingo, 'went viral', and had 10,000 views in the first couple of hours. He immediately removed the photo of our girls from the blog and replaced it with a generic children in schools picture. BUT, the photo of our children was the one that appeared on facebook, so whenever anyone shared it the picture of our daughters appeared on people's facebook timelines. The blog itself was read well over 1,000,000 times, so I'm guessing that photo appeared on maybe 5,000,000 timelines - it probably appeared on yours!

So what have I learnt from this? Well, firstly, that once you put something online you really do lose control of it - the fact that DH deleted the image from his blog within a couple of hours did nothing to change the fact it was 'out there'. Which I think underlines the need for caution.

But equally important for me, even with that (unintended) mass exposure, nothing bad happened. Obviously if people knew the girls they recognised them. But for 99.99% of the population it was just a generic photo of children. I don't know if any birth family would have seen the pictures - they didn't mention it in contact letters. But if they had, and even if they were inclined to try to find us, there was nothing in that picture that would enable them to track us down.

Best wishes

LB


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The social media debate comes round every so often on this forum and as far as I’m concerned there is no obvious answer.


Ideally on Facebook you make sure your settings are on ‘friends’ only for when you make a post. We try not to post pictures of him at all and if we do, it is never a full face. We took a few when he was making a snow man and his head was turned away from the camera in all of them. Whenever we refer to him in a post, we use his nickname. I have a Twitter account and Instagram, I only use personal posts for those.


The reality is, though, that most parents think it is their right to take photos of their little ones and stick it on Facebook. For this reason, I don’t doubt there are hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures of my as in the background of sports, school and holiday photos.


The hard part for me is that my as has got his heart set on becoming a YouTube blogger. He knows why he can’t. But it doesn’t make it any easier for him.


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One of mine talks about becoming a YouTube blogger one day. He says it can be done with hand shots, back shots, whatever, he doesn't need to show his face, and can use an online nickname.

But I wouldn't touch Facebook with a barge pole for reasons I don't want to go into online. There are better social media options if you must post. Most of the kids now seem to use Instagram or snapchat.

Dh and I do a yearly family newsletter and send it to friends and relatives , with a Christmas card. This satisfies the demand for photos without any need to post online. Everyone has been asked not to post any pictures on social media ( unlikely they would)

On the subject of identification, I visited a friend who had a new IMac and the photo software picked out every photo in their hard drive collection and identified the names of the people in the photos. Imagine an online version of that because it's coming.

Sure , nothing is perfect, things can go wrong, I just minimise the chances by my own actions.


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Couple of things come to mind reading this. We have particular problems as our children were featured in full colour two page spreads in the National print media and their online derivatives, with full face photos and full names. This causes many online issues. For example, we can’t even use our children’s real names on any social media as even without a picture, linking both their first names together fills an image search with their pictures.

We only share our own Facebook with friends and use the highest security settings but that does not stop friends inadvertently sharing things outside the security wall or inadvertently asking on FB how X and Y are doing at which point we have to privately ask them to delete their posts.

So it’s not just pictures to watch for, it’s names too.

Also, my DD was “Fished” last week and I had to intervene quickly. She was watching a YouTube with tips on a game she plays. She had a question and using her fake online profile she posted in the comments section. Within a few seconds a reply came back with the answer to her query and “If you would like Santa Clause’s phone number I can send it to you”. To a nine year old this is manna from heaven. She was directed to an email address, which she contacted using her fake account (which is mirrored on my phone and notifies me when she sends emails with a copy). In the time it took me to go from the sofa to the kitchen where she was sitting with my wife she had been sent a number with a German dialing code and had tried ringing it on her mobile which fortunately is not able to make international calls. Needless to say it provided a great object lesson on keeping kids off social media and also in making sure that their details are secure as there are perverts out there who are preying on them all the time and it is not just a scare story.


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I have just tried putting in both my children's first names together ( the ones they are known by) and it immediately comes up with both their facebook profiles (or all in my daughters case) - they are the first 2 up - unlike if you look them up individually - then you can identify the area we live in and using 192 the road - I hadn't done this before - they are vaguely recognisable from old photos too as they have some on their pages! Thanks Ford for alerting us to that!


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Thank you all for your comments


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