Social Media & Communications Policy
The club’s priority and responsibility is to safeguard children and young people involved in football. Alongside the very beneficial aspects of modern communication technologies, we recognise that there are also increased risks to children and young people. These risks must be appropriately managed.
Everyone involved in football must recognise that the responsibility to safeguard exists both on and off the field of play.
It’s essential that club officials (committee members, coaches/managers, assistants, first aiders and team administrators), referees, parents and players make informed decisions about how they use the internet, mobile phone and email communications.
Club officials and those in a position of responsibility at Cranbrook Juniors FC must ensure they communicate responsibly.
Communicating with players
All communications from Cranbrook Juniors FC club officials with players should be via the parents/guardians specified as the contact when the player is registered with the club on the membership system for that season.
CLUB OFFICIALS MUST NOT CONTACT PLAYERS DIRECTLY THROUGH ANY FORM OF DIGITAL COMMUNICATION (i.e. emails, text, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, snapchat, WhatsApp etc).
If a player contacts a club official directly, any replies from the club official must include the parent/guardian and advise that future communications are done through the parent/guardian.
Use of social media
The club’s website and social media administrator maintains and monitors a Facebook and Instagram account as a way of getting club messaging across to the widest audience possible. This is used for marketing and raising awareness of relevant events, news and achievements.
Club officials may request to publish social media posts through the club’s Facebook and Instagram profile via the club’s social media administrator. The administrator will ensure all content complies with this policy.
If any other social media profiles/groups are created by club officials for team specific communications (e.g. WhatsApp or Facebook groups), this must be with the parent/guardian only and not include any players. Communications must be solely about football matters e.g. fixtures, cancellations and team selection. At no time should there be any personal communications, ‘banter’ or comments. It is the responsibility of the club official who set up the group to maintain this policy and raise any concerns to the CWO.
The FA have published the below as best practice in relation to social networking:
- ensure all the privacy settings are locked so that that the page(s) are used explicitly for club or league matters and are not used as a place to meet, share personal details or have private conversations
- nominate a club official to monitor the social networking page regularly and remove access for anyone behaving inappropriately
- make sure everyone within your club/team knows who is responsible for monitoring the content of the social networking areas and how to contact them
- provide all users with The FAs best practice guidance on using social networking sites
- gain written parent/guardian permission before access is given to U18s
- inform the CWO if you have received inappropriate communications online, keeping a record of any inappropriate, threatening or offensive material as this may be needed as evidence.
Unless a child/young person is a direct relation, the club officials should not:
- accept as a friend, players or referees U18 on social networking sites they are members of or share their own personal social networking sites with children or young people involved in youth football
- make contact with children or young people known through football outside of the football context on social networking sites
- use internet or web-based communications to send personal messages of a non-football nature to a child or young person
- engage in any personal communications, ‘banter’ or comments.
Use of images
Any images posted on social media or the club’s website must not include named individuals and the club official taking the photo must ensure that consent has been provided by the parent/guardian to use safe images on digital media (this consent is given upon registration in the membership system).
PARENTS ARE REQUESTED TO NOT POST IMAGES OF PLAYERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE PARENTS OF THOSE PLAYERS. Refer to the club’s Photography policy for full details.
Communicating with referees under 16
As with players, most referees are still minors and must be safeguarded and treated with respect. Some of these referees are as young as 14 years old and are carrying out the activity for the purposes of Duke of Edinburgh awards (DofE) etc.
FOR REFEREES UP TO THE AGE OF 16 (AGED 14 & 15), COMMUNICATIONS MUST BE THROUGH THE PARENT/GUARDIAN AND CLUB OFFICIALS MUST NOT CONTACT REFEREES DIRECTLY THROUGH ANY FORM OF DIGITAL COMMUNICATION.
The club maintains a secure referee list to be used by club officials only and includes the parent/guardian contact details.
Communicating with referees under 18
For referees that are aged 16 and 17, It’s important that we recognise they are not ‘adults’ and as such we have a responsibility to safeguard them as we do any other young person involved in football.
FOR REFEREES UNDER 18 (AGED 16 & 17), COMMUNICATIONS CAN BE DIRECT BUT MUST INCLUDE A COPY TO THE PARENT/GUARDIAN.
Mobile phone and email contact details for referees under the age of 18 should not be hosted on website pages that can be accessed by the general public and must be held securely and displayed within private areas for the purpose of the activities they are undertaking with the written permission of their parent/guardian.
The guidance below is based on FA recommendations for best practice in relation to communication with 16-17 year olds who hold a position of trust and/or responsibility within football:
- Parent/guardian consent should be given prior to email, social networking and mobile phone communications with young people holding a position of trust.
- Both parties to only communicate for the purpose of organising referees at matches.
- Email communications between the club officials and referee should copy in the referee’s parent/guardian.
On occasion, managers may have U14’s to U18’s assisting at training sessions or matches for the purposes of DofE etc. Again, these assistants are still minors and the same rules of communication as for players and referees.
Safeguarding Children & Young People
Children and young people must be advised by their coaches, parents/guardians and CWO to always tell an adult they trust about communications that make them feel uncomfortable or where they’ve been asked not to tell their parent/guardian about the communication.
IF ANY INAPPROPRIATE COMMUNICATION OR CONTENT IS SHARED BETWEEN AN ADULT AND A PLAYER/REFEREE THIS SHOULD BE REPORTED IMMEDIATELY TO THE CWO WHO, WHERE NECESSARY, WILL SEEK ADVICE FROM THE COUNTY FA WELFARE OFFICER AND/OR STATUTORY AGENCIES AS APPROPRIATE.
Please refer to the club’s full Safeguarding Child Policy.
Club Welfare Officer: Ant Tomlinson
Tel: 07951 446034
If at any time you are not able to contact your Club Welfare Officer, or the matter is clearly serious then you can contact your CFA Welfare Officer directly:
Designated Safeguarding Officer: Lucy Kidd
Kent County FA
Tel: 01622 791850