This Safer Internet Day we’re updating parents with guidance from the Swim England Safeguarding Guide (called Wavepower) so that they can make sure their children stay safe online.
It is important that parents ensure that their swimmers understand the club and Swim England policies on social media and that their swimmers know what is right and wrong to post on social media. You should talk to your children regularly about their use of social media.
Swim England recognises that the use of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and instant messaging tools such as WhatsApp and Snapchat, continue to grow rapidly and are increasingly being used as the communication tools of choice by young people.
Whilst these technologies provide exciting opportunities for our members, they are accompanied by dangers and negative consequences if abused by users.
For example swimmers on social media should not;
- Request to become friends with a coach or club volunteer who is 18 or over. (Coaches and volunteers are obliged to reject any friend requests they receive from underage members).
- Post or send any photographs or make comments that;
- May be hurtful, untrue or upsetting or that you may regret sharing later on.
- May be used by other people in a way you did not intend or want.
- Other people may find inappropriate.
- Swimmers must never post images of other members taking part in your organisation’s training, activities or events as you may breach the ASA Photography
Guidance (see Wavepower p. 76). Club officials can however do this because they have access to the photography consent forms.
- Always be aware that social networking sites are a method of communication like letter writing and the spoken word. They are bound by the same laws and rules. The delivery of social networking content is instantaneous and this can sometimes result in users reacting in the ‘heat of the moment’, and your content/comments may spread far from that of your own social network of friends. This is a major difference between the present and the past in which you would have written a letter which would have taken time and allowed for you to think again before sending. So never place a comment on the internet that you would not put in writing or say out loud to someone. To do so may breach Swim England Policy and also the law.
Swimmers should always try to;
- Use the internet positively and not place themselves at risk. Have a look at THINK U KNOW for some useful tips.
- Consider who you are inviting to be your friend and follow the good advice of the social networking sites to ensure make sure you are talking to the person you believe you are talking to.
- Always remember that any communication, comments, photos and video clips posted on a social networking site may be shared with more people than you originally intended.
There have been occasions at some Swim England clubs where parents of members have used social networking sites to criticise or verbally abuse an organisation, its officers, officials, coaches, teachers, and/or members in an inappropriate and unacceptable manner. This has, in some cases, led to the person who is the subject of the abuse to take action through statutory agencies or statutory legislation to address the comments made. Parents must remember that they are bound by the parental code of conduct and could face the same disciplinary action as our swimmers.