Everyone in cricket is reminded that the Relevant Codes of Conduct apply online and in text and email communications, just as they do in the ‘real world.’ Many cricket clubs have formally adopted this expectation into their constitution and / or disciplinary processes.

This guidance is adapted from that provided by the Lawn Tennis Association. We are grateful for their kindness in sharing this.

Social Media

Social Media, when used properly, is exciting and opens up a lot of opportunities, but at times it can seem strange and even intimidating for people who did not ‘grow up’ with it. Facebook, Twitter, texting, Blackberry messenger, online gaming and personal emails are everywhere. By following some simple guidelines potential pitfalls can be avoided, and Social Media can be safely used as a promotional tool and a means of communication for the club.

Club Officials / Coaches / Managers

Facebook and Twitter accounts are great for promoting your club and cricket in general, as well as being a fun way to unwind and stay in touch with friends: it is essential to keep these two worlds separate. You should have separate cricket-club related and personal pages; all contact with players should be through the former, and strictly in relation to training, coaching, matches and cricket related activity. You should also adjust the privacy settings for your personal account so that content is only visible to accepted ‘friends’. This will keep younger players safe from material that may be unsuitable for them, and will reduce the risk of your online interactions from being viewed with suspicion. Although younger players may see you as a friend, and may request to be your ‘friend’ on a social media site, you should direct them to the cricket- club related page and keep all contact professional. What they might consider innocent, friendly contact may not be seen as such by their parents, people at the club and others.

It is also important to be mindful of any content you post online via the cricket-club related page; remember:

You are representing the club

Your communications should conform to ‘Safe Hands’ policy and guidance. Ensure that nothing you post could cause personal distress or be seen as inappropriate for children. If you wouldn’t put it on the club notice board, it doesn’t belong on the club’s social media pages You should have consent before posting any personal information online – this includes photographs where an individual can be identified. Remember the picture/no name guidance for under 18s

If you are in charge of a social media page for your club, league, panel etc., further guidance has been provided by the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU): http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/cpsu/resources/briefings/social_networking_services_wdf69029.pdf.

Texts and emails: contacting Under 18 players

The Children Act defines a person under 18 years as a child.

You should make arrangements for under 18s via their parents or carers; this includes text and email messages.

It is understood that in the case of over 16’s this may not be ideal for yourself or the parents. An acceptable exception to this rule is to text or email the parent and to copy in the 16 or 17 year old, with the parent’s prior consent. This means the parent is able to monitor communications, but the 16 or 17 year old receives the information directly. If you receive any responses from that appear inappropriate they should be brought to the attention of the parent or carer. You should not engage in individual text or email conversations with a 16 or 17 year old without their parent receiving the same messages from you. All contact with children should be in relation to coaching, matches and cricket-related activity.

Social Media: Do’s and Don’ts

Coaches / Managers / Clubs DO

Have separate social media accounts for cricket-club related and personal use. Keep your photos and personal information private. Apply the Codes of Conduct and appropriate professionalism to your behaviour online, by text and email. Obtain consent before posting any personal information online – this includes photographs where an individual can be identified. Remember the picture/no name guidance for under 18s.

Coaches / Managers / Clubs DO NOT

Send text messages to juniors – make arrangements via their parents. Send private messages to children and young people via social media. Invite or accept children and young people to become “friends”. Send inappropriate text messages or post messages on social media that are offensive, nasty or derogatory in any way.

Adult players in Open Age teams

Please be mindful of who may have access to material you share via social media, including Facebook, twitter and other platforms.

If you have concerns regarding social media, texts and emails

If you suspect that someone is using social media in an unsafe or inappropriate manner, you should report their behaviour to your Club Welfare Officer, the County Welfare Officer, or the ECB Safeguarding team – email safeguarding@ecb.co.uk

If you believe that an offence has been committed, or that someone’s use of social media is placing a child is at risk of harm, inform the police immediately.

ECB Guidance for Parents / Carers and children / young people on the use of Social Media, texts and email

This guidance is adapted from that provided by the Lawn Tennis Association. We are grateful for their kindness in sharing this with us.

Parents/Carers

This generation is growing up with the internet as part of their everyday lives, and that’s a good thing. It’s a great place for them to learn, to have fun and to chat with their friends. Of course, it’s important to make sure that they’re safe while they do it.

Remember: it is against Facebook’s rules for your child to have an account if they’re under thirteen years old. This is to prevent them from being exposed to potentially inappropriate content. You will find all you need to know about keeping young teens safe on Facebook on their official safety page for parents: http://www.facebook.com/safety/groups/parents/.

There are some key tips which can significantly help to reduce the risks involved with social media and the internet. Make sure that your family computer is in a main living area, and the screen is positioned so that you can see what’s going on. Google have some more advice on their family safety pages: http://www.google.co.uk/familysafety/advice.html

Most importantly of all, it’s important that your child feels they can talk to someone if they are being bullied online, or if they’ve been exposed to something that makes them upset or uncomfortable.

You may also want to have a look at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre’s guide to the internet for parents and carers: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/Parentsold

Provide the club with your email and/or telephone number to receive texts and emails regarding your child’s matches and training, if the club requests this.

Parents / Carers DO

  • Make sure you are aware of who your child has contact with online and via text
  • Be aware of The ECB and the club’s expectations for coaches and social media
  • Talk to your children about using social media.
  • Provide your mobile number / email address if requested, so the club can contact you

Children and Young People

The internet is a great place to learn and to have fun with your friends, and the best way to have fun is to make sure that you stay safe. You should think about the points below whenever you use the internet, or speak to people online or by text:

If someone isn’t your friend in real life, they aren’t your friend on the internet. Be careful when accepting friend requests.

Sometimes people on the internet aren’t who they say they are. If you’re not 100% sure, don’t risk it.

Remember to change your privacy settings so that only your friends can see information about you, your wall posts and your photos.

If someone is sending you messages or texts that you are worried about, you should tell your parents, an adult you trust, your teacher or your club’s welfare officer.

  • Remember that your coach is a professional, just like your teachers. They should not be your friend on Facebook, and should not be texting or messaging you.
  • You can expect them to make arrangements for coaching and matches via your parents.
  • Bullying can happen online too, and it’s known as cyber-bullying. If you, or someone you know, has had this happen to them you should tell an adult that you can trust.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell someone if you have concerns.
  • Have a look at the Think You Know page on the internet for more information about staying safe online: http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/

Young people DO

  • Keep your photos and personal information private
  • Conduct yourself in a respectful and courteous manner on social media as you would at home, in school or at cricket.
  • Tell a professional or an adult that you trust if you are worried or concerned about online behaviour or unwanted contact/ communication.

Young people DO NOT

  • Send inappropriate text messages or post messages on social media that are offensive, nasty or derogatory in any way
  • Accept any friend requests from people you don’t know or you feel uncomfortable accepting.