Social networking websites such as Facebook can pose a serious risk to adopted children who can be easily tracked down by birth relatives they may not be ready to meet, a charity has warned.
While there are no precise figures on the number of children who have been contacted in this way, David Holmes, chief executive of the British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF), says the phenomenon is a growing concern.
“It's not just Facebook, it's the whole phenomenon of social networking and social media. By having lots of friends and posting identifying information online, information could be misused in the wrong hands,” he told The Independent newspaper in the UK.
“For children who may need to keep some privacy and to be quite careful about online safety, this is a real issue.”
Under the Adoption and Children Act 2002, a birth relative would normally have to wait until the adopted child turns 18 to initiate contact. This would usually be done via a third party with procedures in place to protect the confidentiality of both sides.