Social Media Policy
Online Behaviour & Social Media Policy
Websites, online resources & social media platforms are a key part of most people’s lives today. They offer flexible and convenient ways to communicate with members and those who share an interest in rugby.
It is important that we recognise the potential for harmful behaviour and the need to protect our members, particularly children and those who are vulnerable.
Everyone involved has a legal and moral responsibility to act in an appropriate manner when online and to ensure that they never publish material online which may be harmful or cause offence.
Online Communication with Children & Vulnerable Adults
There are risks, in a rugby environment, when communicating with children (those under 18 years of age) or vulnerable adults.
It is recommended that:
- When communicating with children or vulnerable adults by telephone or online, wherever possible, coaches and team managers should always speak to the parent or guardian of a child or vulnerable adult first.
- Coaches and team managers should not communicate with individual children by text or on-line at any time unless there is an immediate risk to those persons. Group communications are much safer for all parties.
- Communications of events, such as training or match details, should use email or social media groups (for older children), using contact details known to and provided by parents or guardians.
- Those responsible for sending communications should protect personal contact details from being shared (e.g., using bcc function)
- Coaches and team managers should not communicate by telephone or online with a child or vulnerable adult on a one-to-one basis. When communicating with a child or vulnerable adult, the parent should be included, or copied into, the communications.
- Social networking group pages where all communications are open, visible to parents, and transparent are acceptable. However, the content should be monitored and must always be appropriate, acceptable and reflect the values of rugby.
- Coaches and team managers and others in “positions of trust” should avoid becoming ‘friends’ with the children on social media platforms as this can be misinterpreted and can lead to adverse perceptions and allegations.
- Coaches and team managers should avoid communicating inappropriate pressure or criticism concerning a child’s performance and must always avoid posting any content which is harmful or inappropriate.
- Inclusion of photogaphs and video clips can also raise issues for some children (e.g., children subject of care proceedings) and can also lead to increased potential for children featured being vulnerable to harmful activity such as grooming, where information about the child such as name, address, activities, or interests is also disclosed. For further guidance on photographs see the section on Photographic Images in the RFU Safeguarding Toolkit.
It is impossible to address every scenario encountered when communicating with children and vulnerable adults. However, in all cases, communication must be appropriate, and it is suggested clubs should produce written policies which cover its own circumstances and needs.
Northumberland Rugby Football Union online
This guidance must be followed by anyone posting anything under the Northumberland Rugby Football Union (NRFU), Northumberland Rugby Union (NRU), Northumberland Rugby (NR) or any derivation on social media including, but not exclusively, Facebook (Northumberland Rugby Union main page), Instagram (@northumberlandrugby), Twitter (@RFUnorth), Whatsapp or any similar or new social media now and in the future.
- All posts should be branded with the current logo and follow the same style as previous posts.
- When reposting other pages, the content must be appropriate and deemed as something which supports NRFU values and acts within the morals and ethical conduct which is expected of a professional organisation. Additionally, the post must be checked for any comments which would be perceived as being inappropriate or negative and if detected, the post must be deleted.
Protocol for Admins/Members of Social Media Groups
The following protocol should be followed by all Social Media Managers, Group Admin Managers and members of Whatsapp/messenger/facebook/instagram groups which are set up with the purpose of communicating matters relating to NRFU activities, such as age grade teams, fixture exchanges etc.
- The group should be registered with the CB Administrator along with the designated Group Admin Manager’s contact details (this will be the person in charge of ensuring protocols are followed within the group) and a brief description of the purpose of the group and the audience.
- All groups officially sanctioned by NRFU and registered with County Office must contain NRFU in the group title, i.e. NRFU Men’s Adult Rugby and will be permitted to use the NRFU logo. All clubs and members will be advised that any other social media groups are not officially sanctioned.
- The Group Admin Manager is personally responsible for all ongoings within any officially sanctioned group and has the right to remove and add people as deemed necessary.
- Under no circumstances should there be any advertising.
- No inappropriate use of language or critical/negative content, i.e. following any matches or training sessions across all teams etc.
- Rugby related content only.
- GDPR should be followed at all times, and by entering a group where contact details are available to all members (as on whatsapp) the individual is consenting to this information being shared with all other members of the group upon entrance.
- All communications should prioritise safeguarding, details of which can be found at https://www.englandrugby.com/governance/safeguarding.
- Pictures and videos of matches or training sessions should not be posted under any circumstances on any of the age grade social media sites without prior consent in writing from the County Administrator, who has access to all the safeguarding information for the age grade teams.
- The above points should be explained in message/post when the group is set up and regularly reinforced
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