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Social networking

Social networking, websites, mobile phone and email communications

Summary of Best Practice Guidance

The ESFA/FAs intention and responsibility is to safeguard children and young people involved in football. As with other leading world brands The FA and ESFA use Facebook, YouTube and Twitter as a way of getting messaging across to the widest audience possible.

Alongside the very beneficial aspects of modern communication technologies we have to 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.

This guidance has been developed in response to requests for advice. It’s essential that Associations, parents, members and players make informed decisions about how they use the internet, mobile phone and email communications.

Associations that set up websites have a responsibility to ensure safeguards are in place. Coaches, officials, referee mentors and those in a position of responsibility in clubs and leagues must ensure they communicate responsibly.

The ESFA/FA recommends that texting is not used as the primary method of communication between adults and child/young people in football.

If it is decided that the most effective way of communicating to young people is via a social networking site then the Association is strongly advised to set up an account in the name of the Association and explicitly for use by named members, parents and carers solely about football matters e.g. fixtures, cancellations and team selection. At no time should there be any personal communications, ‘banter’ or comments.

Associations are responsible for ensuring all content hosted on their websites, social network areas and any associated message boards or blogs abide by the Rules and Regulations of The English Schools Football and The Football Association. Associations should appoint appropriate adults to monitor the content of their websites. Social networking is a cost effective way to communicate and easy to set up, but labour intensive to run.

Children and young people should be advised by their coaches, parents/carers and Welfare Officer 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/carer about the communication