Good Practice Advice

Good practice advice for young people and youth leaders.

Young people and those working with them need to receive clear adivce when working online with young people. In this section you will find a couple of lists that provide some tips for young people and youth leaders to assist them in keeping themselves safe online.

There are many ways of promoting this information to young people and we would encourage that young people are supported to discuss the tips below and to use them to agree their own code of online conduct that could enable them to enjoy a safer online experience.

 

TOP TIPS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE STAYING SAFE ONLINE

  • Nothing is private on the internet.

  • Don’t share personal or revealing information i.e. passwords/phone number/address.

  • Don’t believe everyone is who they say they are.

  • Remember whatever goes on line can be viewed forever.

  • Know your rights when using the internet.

  • You are responsible for what you do online.

  • Do not open emails from people you don’t know.

  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date.

  • Know what sort of things can get you in trouble or are illegal online and avoid them.

  • Ignore requests for meeting someone on your own.

  • Don’t send someone a photo of yourself particularly if they ask for a revealing or undressed photo of you.

  • Tell someone if you are concerned about anything.

  • If you feel something is not right then it probably isn’t.

  • Find out what the youth organisation’s AUP is so that you know how to behave online while at the youth service.

GOOD PRACTICE FOR YOUTH LEADERS

Supervision

  • The online safety of young people at the youth service is your responsibility so you need to supervise their online activity in accordance with your organisation’s policy.
  • Know what level of monitoring you can utilise and inform the young people and their parents/guardians how you are monitoring their usage.
  • It is not advisable to use personal social networking profiles to connect with the young people online or as a way of supervising their activity.
  • Young people are accessing the internet via hand held devices so agree with them when and how they use them while at the youth service. This needs to be agreed with their parents/guardians.

Empowering

  • Involve young people in writing a code for the acceptable use of the internet.
  • Get to know how the internet works and explore its possibilities with the young people in accordance with your policy.
  • Promote the positive use of the internet as it provides many opportunities for fun, education and development for young people.

Boundaries

  • The use of Social Networking Sites (SNS) and in particular personal profiles can breach the boundaries between a youth leader’s personal and professional life. Accepting young people in to a personal network can lead to various problems such as allegations of inappropriate behaviour or young people misunderstanding the nature of the working relationship with them.
  • It is advisable that if you intend to utilise SNS to work with young people that you explore what options are possible for you to have an organisational profile/identity that will enabel you to engage with young people while maintaining professional boundaries. 

TOP TIPS FOR ORGANISATIONS USING SOCIAL MEDIA

Use of organisational social networking

  • Ensure current practice is in line with the organisation’s latest policy.
  • Include the use of SNS in your policy ensuring that all personnel are informed and know what the rules are surrounding this.
  • Agree a system for monitoring the organisation’s SNS. Monitor all live comments if the SNS allows them.
  • It can be beneficial to set up a notification system within the organisation that sends alerts when certain inappropriate content is posted.
  • Agree a system for reporting any concerns that may arise from using the internet in your youth organisation.
  • If there is a suspicion of any illegal or criminal activity being perpetrated by the use of the internet in your organisation this should be reported to the statutory authorities without delay and managed in line with your organisation’s policies and procedures.