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Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

For adopted youth - staying safe online

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Online social networking sites allow youth in foster care and adoption to connect with others who have shared their experiences. However negotiating social relationships - online ones included - can still be tricky. Youth can can be at risk, and for foster and adopted youth, issues such as who to trust, what to share, and understanding good boundaries in relationships all have online social networking implications as well in person-to-person interactions.

The National Adoption Month 2012 website by the Children's Bureau offers some great resources for youth to help them be safe while on social networking sites. Here are some great resources:

  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offers an English and Spanish version of their NSTeens resource of videos and comics aimed to help tweens navigate the internet.
  • Social Safety.org has a guide for safe and responsible social networking
  • Social Media Safety, created by the Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development, is a guide for youth
Resources for social workers, foster and adoptive parents and others working with foster and adopted youth:
  • The state of Oregon has created an "Internet Usage Greement for Youth In Care and Foster Parents" that might be a helfpul guide for other parents and caregivers.
  • Kids that have been adopted might use the internet to find birth family. This guide from the Child Welfare Information Gateway discusses using social media as a tool for finding birth family.
  • Dale Fitch from the University of Missouri wrote "Youth in Foster Care and Social Media: A Framework for Developing Privacy Guidelines" in the Journal of Technology in Human Services. For an article about Dr. Fitch, see this article in the Univesity of Missori News Bureau.
  • From the Foster Kids Own Story blog - Foster Care's Social Media Problem.

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