Can I connect with my child through Facebook, Twitter, email, Skype, etc.?
As electronic communications become the norm in many countries they are still anything but that in other countries. Also some countries actually have bans in place preventing many social media and communication sites from being accessed. We understand your desire to avoid using “snail mail” in our ever-increasing, digitally connected world. We have installed our online child letter-writing site to help in this area.
Our greatest concern is protecting the children. In this day and age we must be firm in this area and we also have requirements and best practices followed by all international agencies.
If you are contacted by your sponsored child outside of Heart For Kids (e.g., by phone, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), please don’t respond, and please let us know about the contact.
It’s been surprisingly common in some organisations for someone who knows a sponsored child, even a family member like an uncle or cousin, to create an account on a social network. They then pretend to be the child, to ask for money or to claim the child’s well-being is threatened if money isn’t provided.
We cannot protect your privacy or your sponsored child if we are not involved in the correspondence. We also have a responsibility to protect the children from sponsors who don’t have the children’s best interest in mind. Sadly this happens occasionally as well.
Being involved in the correspondence process also allows us to help you navigate the ocean of cross-cultural sensitivities and avoid inadvertently writing something inappropriate or offensive to your child or to other laws or practices in your child’s country. Many of these are very different to those in our own countries.
If you are contacted by the child or youth you sponsor outside of Heart For Kids system (e.g., by phone, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, WeChat etc.), please don’t respond, even to say, “I’m sorry but I can’t talk with you in this manner.” And please let us know about the contact.
If it happens in Facebook or Twitter, please use the site’s “block” feature to block the person from asking you to be their friend. I know this may sound harsh, but please try to imagine what could happen if these guidelines weren’t in place.