Social media activity includes postings on club/organisation websites, Facebook pages, or Instagram or Twitter accounts, blogs, and status updates.
Social media issues can arise on a few different fronts. This may include behaviour on your organisation’s social media sites, or member behaviour on other social media sites, or even behaviour by others, directed at your organisation or members.
Advice for social media management
1. Policies and rules
All organisations need policies in place to manage issues that arise on social media. The purpose is to set out how you expect members to behave and how you will deal with issues that may arise. They also provide a framework on how to use social media and how to deal with issues.
You can either develop a specific policy, such as a social media policy, or you may have existing policies that cover these areas such as:
- Codes of Conduct
- Child Protection Policy
- Child safeguarding - Media Policy
- Disciplinary rules and processes as set out on club/sport rules.
Existing organisation rules should cover member behaviour on social media. For example, a derogatory remark made during a game by a member to an official, would be dealt with the same way if that remark was made by the member on Facebook, directed at the official.
Social media tips
Social media activity:
- Must not contain material which is, or has the potential to be, offensive, aggressive, defamatory, threatening, discriminatory, obscene, profane, harassing, embarrassing, intimidating, sexually explicit, bullying, hateful, racist, sexist or otherwise inappropriate.
- Must not contain material that is inaccurate, misleading or fraudulent.
- Must not contain material that is in breach of laws, court orders, undertakings or contracts.
- Should respect and maintain the privacy of others.
- Should promote the sport/activity in a positive way.
Appoint someone at your organisation to monitor the social media sites your organisation is responsible for. You’ll also need a contact person for members who have a concern. Both these roles can be set out in your policy. Make sure you appoint people in this area who actively use social media and are across the trends.
3. Reporting and response
It is important that organisations have a clear reporting process, respond to issues promptly and have offensive material removed. How you do this can be set out in your policy. Here are a few important considerations:
- Collecting information – prior to having material removed or reported, you should collect information/evidence.
- Removing and/or reporting material - as a first step, organisations can:
o remove material, where you manage the site (e.g., delete the post)
o request the member remove it, when on another site (eg. member posts video to You Tube)
o request another organisation/site owner remove the material (eg. non-member posts negative remarks about your organisation to another organisation's Facebook page).
- For serious issues of cyberbullying of persons under the age of 18 years or instances of image based abuse, Netsafe New Zealand can also help.
Image-based abuse, and cyberbullying
Illegal activity or matters of serious concern, such as child protection, should be reported to the relevant authorities immediately.
Documentation of the issue and follow up must be undertaken by the organisation as part of its record keeping system.
Organisations should be proactive and let members know what behaviour they expect on social media. Promote policies and contact people.
- Brief volunteers, including committee, coaches, supervisors and others in meetings and inductions.
- Explain your organisation's policy and how to explain it to children and young people - in a child-friendly way. This might include face-to-face talks during the season, or child-friendly signs at your venue (e.g., simple tick and cross for examples of good and bad social media use).
- Make information available on your website, newsletters, handbooks, or information nights.
- Bring policies to life in an interesting way – put a few points in your weekly newsletters, or emails about expected standards for social media use at your club.
Media Policy (Children and Young People)
Digital Communications Policy
Child Safeguarding in Play, Active Recreation and Sport e-learning module