We asked:- Is the internet a suitable medium through
which prospective adopters should view children?
These are some of the comments we
“I strongly feel that children’s pictures should not be
placed on the internet for proposed adopters because there is a
high possibility that these pictures will fall into the wrong
Why market children as if they are a commodity to be advertised?
More publicity can be made on how proposed adopters can have the
opportunity of having a view of the child or children they desire,
but not children on internet as commodities. Where are the
children’s human rights?”
Mrs Shola Babatunde
Unaccompanied Minors Team
“I would be unhappy about children available for adoption
being pictured on the internet, even if all the security issues
could be overcome(and I don’t believe they can be!).
The fact is that the net is a technological “wild west” and
there are plenty of cowboys about out there already, albeit many
based overseas and outside UK jurisdiction.
It’s not just the kids themselves either. Prospective adopters
who identify themselves to these sites could be making themselves
vulnerable to exploitation. If we had an “official” UK site it
would achieve little that was new and its existence could encourage
or even indirectly give credibility to less scrupulous or less
reputable operators of bogus sites elsewhere.
ISPs are notorious at evading responsibility for what is
published on their networks and until we have a properly regulated
and policed internet anything concerning vulnerable people is in
danger of becoming dangerously stuck in this particular
“I fully understand the desire to ‘widen the net’ as it were
and reach the greatest possible number of potential adopters;
however I find the whole idea of publishing children’s photographs
on a website absolutely abhorrent.
Information on the website about the process of adoption is one
thing and surely more use could be made of TV and Radio. The
documentary “Someone to watch over me” gives the public a greater
idea of what social workers do, why not a documentary or docu-drama
The process of adoption is complex and seeing a cute face on a
website should not influence somebody’s wish to permanently extend
their family. People who genuinely want to make this commitment
will do so and there must be better ways of reaching those who are
as yet undecided.
In addition what messages would we be giving to children who
appeared on a website and were still not chosen for adoption – on
the basis of their physical appearance!”
Student Social Worker and Foster Carer
“I feel that using the internet as a medium to enable
prospective parents to be made aware that there are children that
need parents is a good thing. The need to include appropriate
assessment of prospective parents etc would need to be adhered to
in the same way that is in use at present. Then the possibility is
But to use it to parade children like a cattle market in the
same way as the USA use it would not be the right approach.
And yes I was adopted as a baby of five weeks old, received a
happy childhood, and I am now a parent myself.