Handling Social Media

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What issues do you need to think about when using social media as an adoptive or foster parent? What issues do you need to consider for your teens and tweens as they engage in social media? We talk with Katie Biron, Director Fostering Connections for Families and Program Manager of the Family Connections Program; Laura Jean Beauvais, licensed professional counselor with New Wind Counseling; and Dawn Friedman, a licensed professional clinical counselor with supervisory designation at Building Family Counseling about handling social media with adopted, foster, and kinship children.
In this episode, we include:

Some of the most popular social media platforms include:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • TikTok
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit

Social Media pre-adoption

  • Keep in mind that states have varying laws on matching online and advertising for an expectant parent. You need to know what is allowed.
  • How much information can you or should you post after you have been matched with an expectant mom during her pregnancy?
  • How much info can you share post birth and after the baby comes home, but before the adoption is finalized?
  • Is it OK to “snoop” on expectant family and birth family online pre-adoption? You should know that the expectant family will also be checking you out online.
  • Should you friend the expectant mom and family pre-adoption?
  • How, when, and if to announce a child coming into your family through adoption.

Social Media as an Adoptive Parent

  • How much of your child’s adoption story should you share online?
  • How much should you share of your child’s birth parent’s online presence with a school aged child or younger?
  • Sharing photos online. How to handle differing opinions between adoptive and bio family on sharing pics. Common scenario is adoptive parent doesn’t share online pics and bio family does.
  • Friending biological or first family or accepting friend requests from biological family.
  • How to seek help online without divulging your child’s personal information or oversharing.
    • Post anonymously either on your own or ask group admin.
    • Ask general questions without personal details.
  • How to juggle the ups and downs of adoption groups on social media.

Social Media as a Foster Parent

  • Differing rules and expectations on social media use between foster child and foster parent will be discussed later in the interview.
  • Can a foster parent post a foster child’s picture online?
    • Ask you caseworker
    • Confidentiality is essential
    • Use the Reasonable Prudent Parent Standard
  • Discussion in online forums. How open can you be?

Social Media with Adopted/Fostered Teens

  • What age do adolescents start having access to social media without adult supervision?
  • How to handle and navigate social media with the teens in foster care?
  • Benefits of social media for adopted and fostered adolescents.
    • Maintaining social ties. Social media is how many youth connect with friends, both old and new. May be especially important for young people who have been moved from their communities and families.
    • Support. Through either organized online groups for youth in similar situations or informally.
    • Family connections. Youth may be able to with biological family members between family visits, where appropriate and approved by the caseworker.
    • Self-expression. Social media is where many budding poets, artists, videographers hone their skills. It is also a place where young people shape their identity and can contribute to healing from childh

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