As a response to: https://twitter.com/SobukiRa/status/1060828227059531776
Although I was inclined to vote “No, it’s dangerous”, I have to vote “other”. The reason is that it is more broad than just that. For example, looks are actually very important when it comes to adoption, as sad as that is…
But first, let me point out that it’s correct, it is in fact dangerous, we have seen this here in area of Eastern Europe for many years already by the huge amount of trafficking that happens from here, including towards the UK, just noting this for clarity. It’s also actually one of the ways to prove that looks are, sadly, important when it comes to adoption, even though a lot of people claim it is not. As if looks weren’t important, trafficking of children from areas like here, Eastern Europe, would not make sense…(Or maybe I am still not aware of all the facts myself. I am still young and all, I haven’t learned everything.) Apart of that, it wouldn’t matter to (a) potential parent(s) if the child is from a certain region or anything alike, but we see time and time again that it does matter when it comes to adoption. Let’s not forget that in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, both known for quite a huge amount of adoptions happening from foreign countries towards there, there are also many children who are in desperate need of adoption, and if looks would really not matter, they would be the first to be adopted, and only when they were adopted, the attention would shift to international adoption. This is however not how it is.
Anyhow, apart of that form of danger, we have also the mental health consequences, which I would classify as a danger myself, especially when it comes to campaigns of charities, foundations, and other humanitarian organizations. You, Natasha, might remember how a British charity labeled Russian orphans as future criminals and drug addicts… (https://researchingreform.net/2018/05/03/charity-labels-all-children-in-care-future-criminals/)
These kind of campaigns might be seen by the children as they grow older, and seeing your own photo related to such texts… Well, I doubt I will have a need to explain how this can be hurtful.
However, while we have those 2 clear points, there is also the actual opposite of what you write, and that’s actually “Yes, it IS about look”. This has actually been shown here in Eastern Europe by the charity which I wrote about in the blog post that I have as pinned tweet on Twitter, the Change One Life Foundation. Their Russian-based foundation previously had a project/campaign known as the “Twin Souls Project”, which was about giving potential parents the ability to upload their photos, and by usage of face recognition software, it showed an orphan with close resemblance, as well as full information how the adoption process worked, etcetera. By that project alone, the amount of adoptions in Russia rose with 500%. Now, it could be said that it is also because of the videos the Change One Life Foundation makes, as it also shows the personality of the child better than just a text, but it wouldn’t matter when it comes to the overall question, as it shows there is a benefit of it happening.
And I could go on for a bit, but let me just get to the point. In the perfect world, it’s not okay for photos and videos to be shared in public adverts and such. However, that being said, we don’t live in a perfect world, and the photos (and videos) do take a lot of importance when it comes to adoption and foster care, and without this happening, it is extremely likely that the amount of potential parents would decrease even more. To me, there is no simple answer to the question. As personally I have had benefit of the photos and videos being shared, as it is possible that my parents wouldn’t have adopted me without them. They say they were not influenced by my looks, as any loving parent would say, but according to the science of psychology, it is probable that it did, even if it was just unconcious. Besides that, there is also the counter-question of what adverts we are actually talking about. And when it comes to that, the discussion would probably take advantage of making it more broad, and just looking at whether it’s okay for the photos of children to be used in public campaigns and adverts, to which the only correct answer would be “no”. But for this more specific one, I just can’t say, as both sides of the argument have valid points, and I just don’t know if there is one side which really outweighs the other.