Today is the annual Safer Internet Day and Lincolnshire FA is right behind the goal to raise awareness of a safer and better internet for all, especially children and young people.
This year’s theme is ‘Together for a better internet’ and alongside The FA, we’re promoting three key messages within football:
- Children/young people: Be kind, respectful and protect your online presence/activity.
- Parents/carers: Support your child(ren) to use technology responsibly and respectfully, whether via open dialogue, educating or explaining your own use of the internet as a role model.
- Everyone: Be kind and respectful to others, respond to the negative by reporting inappropriate or illegal content and behaviour online.
We are asking parents/carers to:
- Encourage conversations about online safety with your child(ren).
- Review/discuss your child(ren)’s privacy settings.
- Check that your child(ren) know how to report concerns they may have.
- Ensure you know your club’s social media protocol(s).
- Check out the SID parents/carers’ resources – they cover a wide range of topics and are age-related so ideal to support conversations with your child(ren) e.g., setting up parental controls, AI, awareness of grooming, safety on TikTok/Instagram, parent/carer top tips and more.
Clubs/leagues are encouraged to support SID 2024 by:
- Communicating your support for SID 2024 on your website/social media channels.
- Re-sharing your social media protocol(s) with all parents/carers.
- Ensuring your reporting process for online concerns is clear and visible.
- Pledging your support for SID 2024 on the SID website here.
As part of joint ongoing commitment to safeguarding across every environment within football, The FA has produced a range of guidance notes related to online safety. They’re listed below and are available here as part of our complete suite of safeguarding guidance notes:
- 6.1: Running website or social media platforms (for clubs and leagues).
- 6.2: Digital communications and children (for all).
- 6.3: Staying safe in the digital world (for teenagers).
- 7.4: Fake news – what to trust online (for all).
- 8.5: Tips to ensure your child’s online safety (for parents/carers).
- 8.6: Grooming – the signs and steps to take if you’re worried about a child (for parents/carers).
Please also visit the Safeguarding in the digital world section on The FA’s website to find links to expert organisations (e.g. the NSPCC) to read about a range of online issues more widely. Advice targeted at parents/carers or teachers and professionals supporting children and young people online is also really useful for coaches/managers, officials and first-aiders – please take some time to find out more.
Ben Pearce, Designated Safeguarding Officer at Lincolnshire FA, said: "Safer Internet Day is a great opportunity for everyone to refresh their understanding around the balance that needs to be sought around safe internet use. We live in a society now that is intertwined with technology, and using it for positive action is really important to the progressive and equal society we should want to live in. This does not come without its issues however, and being aware of these is just as important as using technology for positive change.
In terms of advice for parents & carers in particular - transparency is key! We would encourage all parents & carers to be open and honest with their children about their online use and privacy settings. Parents & carers should be aware of what their children are accessing, and actively look to support them being safe online. All children should know how to report a concern and be confident in doing so.
Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility - offline as well as online!"
Head of Safeguarding at The FA, Sue Ravenlaw, comments: “As our Play Safe campaign emphasises, safeguarding applies to everyone, everywhere, every time – including in the digital space. Technology plays a huge part in today’s football, whether it’s organising matches, communicating with players – or just for fun.
“Safer Internet Day is an opportunity for us all to reflect on our use of social media and the internet generally. This includes clubs having and communicating protocols for the use of social media. It also means parents and carers ensuring they are aware of their child’s online activity, and feeling confident enough to talk to their child about online safety. You can read more about the measures and guidance notes we have in place for keeping safe in the digital world here.”
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