SAFEGUARDING – Social Media – Help or Hindrance?

Social media has changed the way we do things forever. It is a great tool for getting messages out to people quickly and easily, but it is also a new mechanism for people with the wrong intentions to have the same quick and easy access to people.   We know that the vast majority of young people use social media readily for their information and therefore it makes sense for clubs and coaches to use this means of communication.

Within taekwondo we see clubs using social media to great effect, communicating with young people, getting messages out there, publicising their activities and successes. Sadly, we have also had people prosecuted for online grooming, inappropriate conversations and sharing of inappropriate imagery with young people.

So how do you tread the line between having a social media presence and also making sure that people are receiving the messages that they should have access to.

The first thing is to be aware of the British Taekwondo Good Practice Guidelines on the Use of Social Networking Sites by British Taekwondo Clubs and Club Members.  This lays out BT’s way forward on use of Social Media in Taekwondo.

There are several key things to think about:

Keeping your online personal life separate from your taekwondo life. Your members do not need to know what you did last Friday, or what your political, social or religious views are.   What they need to know is what is happening in their club.   Having members who are under 18 on your personal social media accounts opens you up to potential accusations about grooming.

Our strong advice is to make a clear separation between your personal and club social media accounts.  Once you have this separation, then you need to ensure that your privacy settings are set in such a way that makes it difficult for your students to find you online, but easy to find your club online.  There is some excellent guidance as to how to do this below:

Strengthen your Club social media presence – This is where you want people to find you.   This creates a powerful taekwondo related presence online.   This should be moderated by more than one responsible club members and be a place where you are proud to celebrate successes, discuss club matters, talk about training and anything else related to taekwondo.   There should be nothing on here about politics, religion, or personal matters.

These simple steps can make a big difference, so just stop for a moment and think about your online presence, your safety and the safety of your students