Internet….How could anyone in the adoption community ever have anticipated how much you were going to change everything?
Today I have three things to say. First is a bit of a rant, the second is serious, the third is something good.
1) Today, once again, I have come across childrens profiles (real names, real photographs) on the internet, courtesy of BeMyParent (ie. BAAF). A website which is a digital web archive (see my previous post for an explanation of archives) has a long list of children’s names and photographs from the BMP website. Interestingly, not only does this list include the photos and names of children who are on the public page of BMP…it also includes children who are NOT on the public page. How they’ve managed that, I don’t now, but the page clearly states at the top that it’s a full list of the children in BMP, not just the public profiles.
I wish to make a note that once again I am pissed off. Once again, despite the huge emphasis placed by SS on confidentiality, childrens rights to privacy has been compromised. It’s not SS themselves doing this, it’s BAAF who run BMP. The birth parents, neighbours, teachers of these children can come across this. Anyone can. It makes them recognisable, and they are not public property. I won’t rant further, as I did enough on my last post, but I would love to know how this list has come to be fully public given it obviously shouldn’t be.
2) This is more serious, and linked to part 1. Once more, I have also come across a list, hosted by an anti-UK-adoption site, of children who have been adopted. The photos and names of children are supplied by the birth parents, who hope that by giving their children’s details in public, someone might recognise the children, and the birth parents can find their children. This particular list includes photos/names of children who have been adopted very recently, and some of the adopted children are old enough to be very reconisable. Of course the childs new teachers, neighbours or anyone else could see this and find out a lot of private information about the child. More worrying is that the specific aim of these pages is to try and locate the child and their adoptive family.
I know full well that these lists do often cause a lot of worry among the adoptive parent community, and they cause a lot of worry for SW’s too I’m sure. Taking them down is sometimes impossible
The reason I mention this? I think it’s very important that adoptive parents and prospective parents are aware of this kind of thing. We all need to be aware of the problems of the internet, and these lists are a stark reminder of why keeping our children’s identifying photos and identifying information secure and private is so important.
Now, if any adoptive parent reading this finds themself worried and thinking “oh my goodness, is my child on that list? My childs birth parents put his/her photos everywhere, and they want to find him/her. I need to see this list!” then I completely understand. I know when a similar list was brought to the attention of AdoptionUK posters several years ago, a great number of people wanted to check. I won’t put a link publically for the obvious reason, but I am happy to give the link privately to any adoptive parent who would like to check it for their own peace of mind. Comment on this post and let me know, I will email you.
The sad truth is though that this list barely scratches the surface. Anyone who had a mind to look, would find many many anti-SS, anti-adoption groups on Facebook alone, who share their children’s identifying information with each other, for the world to see.
3) Thirdly, and on a very positive note, the Internet is a great way for adoptive parents to support each other. I am saying this very late, but I know I have readers who don’t read many blogs at all, so if that’s you then read this!
A new website, The Adoption Social, launched last week, and I am VERY IMPRESSED with it It is a community for adoptive parents and includes – The Weekly Adoption Shout Out, for bloggers to link posts in and people to find new blog – A Problem Shared, for adoptive parents to ask advice – Blogless Blogging, for people who do not blog, to try out writing for an online community – and a lot more
If you haven’t seen it, please check it out