In today’s world, safeguarding children and young people applies as much online as it does face-to-face. Part of the role of The FA as the game’s governing body, and the Guernsey FA locally, is to offer guidance across many areas relating to safeguarding in football.
Guernsey FA Chief Executive Officer and Senior Safeguarding Lead, Gary Roberts, commented:
“The Guernsey FA works tirelessly to monitor safeguarding in local football and to support local clubs in ensuring volunteers have the relevant training and qualifications. However, it is important to remember that parents and guardians also have an important role to play in creating a safe and enjoyable environment for young people to enjoy football, but also to have in having an understanding of what should be expected by local clubs in safeguarding their children. This is particularly important in relation to social media and communications with children and young people and the FA has produced guidance that extends to the use of digital platforms in a football context. It is imperative that everyone involved in the game makes informed decisions about how they use the internet, social media, mobile phone and email communications – particularly when children and young people are involved.”
“It is recognised that there are many benefits for children and young people when using social media and online communication systems, including connecting with friends and family, enabling innovative ways of learning and creating new ways for them to express themselves. This also applies to learning and developing in football with the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in an increased use of online training and coaching demonstrations for children and young people to follow. However, we must remain mindful that there are also risks associated with social media and online communications and that is why the FA has produced guidance.”
The FA is constantly looking to provide a supportive framework around everyone who participates in football, whatever their role and this guidance includes the use of digital platforms such as websites, email, mobile messaging and use of social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. These technologies have huge benefits because it is so much easier nowadays for a team or club to let its players know the times of training sessions, meet-ups and match venues. However, it is also important and necessary to recognise that digital platforms can be misused, with increased risks to children and young people.
Football takes these risks extremely seriously. It’s with this in mind that a series of guidance notes have been developed, and could be found via the link below;
The NSPCC has also provided information and about both the benefits and risks associated with using social media safely. This information can be accessed via the following link;
As football looks ahead to the FA’s Safeguarding Weekend on 20th and 21st November, this is an opportunity to also remind parents, carers, and all involved in the local game, about the various safeguards in affiliated football in Guernsey and ensure that safeguards are understood and upheld. The Guernsey FA would ask that all parents and carers make sure they:
- Know who coaches their child and that they are FA DBS checked and safeguarding trained.
- Have the name and contact details of their club’s welfare officer in their phone.
- Are clear about acceptable and unacceptable behaviours at their child’s club.
- Sign up and adhere to their club’s code of conduct.
- Help their child to understand their rights and know who they can talk to you if they are worried about an adult’s behaviour.
- Encourage their child to speak out about anything that worries them, no matter how big or small.
- Are aware of the guidance regarding social media and online communications in football.
For more information about safeguarding in football we would recommend that all parents and guardians find the time to watch the FA video entitled ‘Let’s talk about keeping children safe in football’, which can be accessed via the following link here