This policy provides guidance on how Oxford Sports LTC uses the internet and social media, and the procedures for doing so. It also outlines how we expect the Coaches and Club volunteers who work for us, and the children or young people who are members of our organisation, to behave online.
The aims of our online safety policy are:
- to protect all children and young people involved with our organisation and who make use of technology (such as mobiles phones, games consoles and the internet) while in our care
- to provide coaches and club volunteers with policy and procedure information regarding online safety and inform them how to respond to incidents
- to ensure our organisation is operating in line with our values and within the law regarding how we behave online
Understanding the online world
As part of using the internet and social media, our organisation will:
- understand the safety aspects – including what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour for coaches, club volunteers and children – when using websites, social media, apps and other forms of digital communication
- be aware that it doesn’t matter what device is being used for digital interaction, but that the same safety aspects apply whether it is a computer, mobile phone or game console or other device
- when using social media platforms (including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), ensure that we adhere to relevant legislation and good practice guidelines
- regularly review existing safeguarding policies and procedures to ensure that online safeguarding issues are fully integrated, including:
- making sure concerns of abuse or disclosures that take place online are written into our reporting procedures
- incorporating online bullying (cyberbullying) in our anti-bullying policy
- provide any necessary training for the person responsible for managing our organisation’s online presence
Managing our online presence
Our online presence through our website or social media platforms will adhere to the following guidelines:
- all social media accounts will be password-protected, and at least 2 members of staff will have access to each account and password
- the account will be monitored by a designated person, who will have been appointed by the club committee
- the designated person managing our online presence will seek advice from our designated safeguarding lead to advise on safeguarding requirements
- a designated supervisor will remove inappropriate posts, explaining why, and informing anyone who may be affected (as well as the parents of any children involved)
- identifying details such as a child’s home address, school name or telephone number will not be posted on social media platforms
- any posts or correspondence will be consistent with our aims
- we’ll make sure children and young people are aware of who manages our social media accounts and who to contact if they have any concerns about the running of the account
- parents/guardians will be asked to give their approval for us to communicate with their children through social media, or by any other means of communication
- parents/guardians will need to give permission for photographs or videos of their child to be posted on social media
- all of our accounts and email addresses will be appropriate and fit for purpose
What we expect of the Coaches and Club volunteers
- all should be aware of this policy and behave in accordance with it
- all should seek the advice of the designated safeguarding lead if they have any concerns about the use of the internet or social media
- all should communicate any messages they wish to send out to children and young people to the designated person responsible for the organisation’s online presence
- all should not ‘friend’ or ‘follow’ children or young people from personal accounts on social media
- all should make sure any content posted is accurate and appropriate, as young people may ‘follow’ them on social media. All should not communicate with young people via personal accounts or private messages
- rather than communicating with parents/guardians through personal social media accounts, coaches and Club volunteers should choose a more formal means of communication, such as face-to-face, in an email or in writing, or use an organisational account, profile or website
- a parent/guardian should be copied into any emails sent to children or young people
- all should avoid communicating with children or young people via email outside of normal office hours
- emails should be signed off in a professional manner, avoiding the use of emojis or symbols such as ‘kisses’ (‘X’s)
- any disclosures of abuse reported through social media should be dealt with in the same way as a face-to-face disclosure, according to our reporting procedures
- smartphone users should respect the private lives of others and not take or distribute pictures of other people if it could invade their privacy
- Coaches, Club volunteers and young people must not engage in ‘sexting’ or send pictures to anyone that are obscene, indecent or menacing
What we expect of children and young people
- children should be aware of this online safety policy and agree to its terms
- we expect children and young people’s behaviour online to be consistent with the guidelines set out in our acceptable use statement
- children should follow the guidelines set out in our acceptable use statement on all digital devices, including smart phones, tablets and consoles
Using mobile phones or other digital technology to communicate
When using mobile phones (or other devices) to communicate by voice, video or text (including texting, email and instant messaging), we’ll take the following precautions to ensure young people’s safety:
- Coaches and Club volunteers will avoid having children’s or young people’s personal mobile numbers and will instead seek contact through a parent or guardian
- we’ll seek parental/guardian permission on each occasion we need to contact children or young people directly; the purpose for each contact will be clearly identified and agreed upon
- copies of texts will be sent to the child’s parent or guardian.
- texts will be used for communicating information – such as reminding children or young people about upcoming events, what kit to bring or practice timings – and not to engage in conversation
- if a young person misinterprets such communication and tries to engage in conversation, the coach or Club volunteer will take the following steps:
- end the conversation or stop replying
- suggest discussing the subject further at the next practice or event
- if concerned about the child or young person, provide contact details for the Club’s lead Welfare Officer or appropriate agencies
Using mobile phones during sports activities
So that all children can enjoy and actively take part in sports activities, we discourage the use of mobile phones during such activities. As part of this policy we will:
- make children aware of how and who to contact if there is an emergency or a change to previously agreed arrangements with the organisation
- inform parents/guardians of appropriate times they can contact children who are away at camps or away trips and discourage them from attempting contact outside of these times
- advise parents/guardians that it may not be possible to contact children during activities and provide a contact within the Club or organisation who will be reachable should there be an emergency
- explain to young people how using mobile phones during activities has an impact on their safe awareness of their environment, and their level of participation and achievement
Use of other digital devices and programmes
The principles in this policy apply no matter which current or future technology is used – including computers, laptops, tablets, web-enabled games consoles and smart TVs – and whether an app, programme or website is used.
If any digital devices are used as part of activities within the organisation:
- we expect children and young people to adhere to the guidelines surrounding online use and behaviour set out in our acceptable use policy
- we’ll establish appropriate restrictions, more commonly known as ‘parental controls’, on any device provided to prevent misuse or harm
As an organisation, we commit to implementing this policy and addressing any concerns quickly and within these guidelines.
Further information for parents and carers on keeping children safe online
The following websites provide information for organisations and parents about online safety to help them protect their children from harm:
NSPCC / 02 Helpline 0808 800 5002 – www.o2.co.uk/help/nspcc/child-protection
Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) – www.ceop.police.uk
Childnet – www.childnet.com
The UK Safer Internet Centre – www.saferinternet.org.uk
Acceptable use statement
Oxford Sports LTC understands the importance of online communication for children and young people’s development. However, we recognise that relevant safeguards need to be put in place to ensure children and young people remain safe while online or using social media.
We ask that all parents* spend a few minutes to read through and discuss this statement with their child.
- I will be responsible for my behaviour when using the internet and social media at the sports club, including the content I access and how I conduct myself.
- I will not deliberately create, browse or access material that could be considered offensive or illegal. If I accidentally come across any such material, I will report this to a member of staff.
- I will not use social media or the internet to send anyone material that could be considered threatening, offensive, upsetting, bullying or that is illegal.
- I understand that I should only use the club’s (or organisation’s) official social media or website communication channels to contact them and should not seek out individual members of staff or coaches.
- I understand that all my use of internet and social media is potentially visible to everyone and that any issues involving my behaviour online may be addressed by my coach or other staff members at the club.
- I will not give out any of my personal information (such as name, age, address or telephone number online), or that of anyone else.
- I will not share my passwords with anyone else.
- I will not arrange to meet someone that I have met online unless accompanied by a member of staff or parent.
- I understand that these rules are designed to keep me safe, and if they are not followed my parents may be contacted.
- I will avoid using my mobile or smartphone during activities as I understand that it will have an impact on my safety and my opportunity to learn and achieve.
- I am aware that if I am experiencing bullying behaviour or abuse online, I can contact the club’s Safeguarding officer, Sarah Whatley – firstname.lastname@example.org 07974 984 304
- I know I can contact Childline on 08001111 if I have any worries about something I’ve seen or experienced online.
Policy Updated: October 2021
Policy Next Review: October 2022