Safeguarding in the digital world

Safeguarding in the digital world

We all benefit from the digital world – it’s a good place when used appropriately.

Ordering a pair of shinpads, getting team results, communicating a change of venue, promoting an end-of-season BBQ, the latest England team news, coaching tips, booking a referee course or setting up a club website…they’re all positive.

The FA encourages the appropriate use of social media to help run your teams and leagues, communicate with players (via their parents/carers when under-16), and appoint referees, log results and much more.

Whatever way we communicate, safeguarding principles remain the same. Retaining boundaries is just as important online as it is offline.

Remember we all create our own digital footprint every time we post comments, photos and videos. Be sure before you post. If you wouldn’t say or do something face-to-face – then don’t do it online.

If you have a role in football then always make sure communications are relevant to your role – focus on the football, don’t share personal info or comments.

Safer Internet Day 2021 - Tuesday 9 February

Safer Internet Day is celebrated globally in February each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people and inspire a national conversation.

This year the campaign focuses on how we can decide what to trust online, supporting young people to question, challenge and change the online world for the better. It will explore how influence, persuasion and manipulation can impact young people’s decisions, opinions and what they share online.

You can find out more by following the link below:


Check out the following resources which support this campaign:

Advice from the experts

There’s lots of helpful advice and guidance about staying safe online provided by experts and we’d like to signpost this for everyone’s benefit. Advice targeted at parents/carers is also really useful for coaches/managers, officials and first-aiders – please take some time to find out more. Here are some key organisations and the information/services they provide.

Click on the title of each organisation to go to their websites, or see Guidance Notes 6.3: Staying Safe In The Digital World at the foot of this page for all contact details.


‘Your guide to the social networks your kids use’ – by the NSPCC:

Net Aware. A really useful guide to a wide range of the most popular sites, apps and games including; snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, Friv, Minecraft, Facebook and Messenger, FIFA football, Movie Planet, Viber, WhatsApp, Youbo, Twitch, Steam. If you are looking for specific guidance on the use of WhatsApp, then please visit 

Share Aware by the NSPCC: great advice on how to talk to your child about online safety, tips about how to start the conversation, helpful films and step by step advice. There’s also advice about how to set up parental controls and adjust privacy settings, supported by a free helpline.


There’s really useful info for parents/carers including a parent/carers’ guide to online gaming, how to report concerns and the five things teenagers want parents/carers to know. It also offers topics aimed at primary and secondary school children, that’s age-appropriate and provides clear definitions, tips and advice.

CEOP and Thinkuknow

Hosts a reporting feature with information aimed at parents/carers as well as age- appropriate guidance (4-7s, 8-10s, 11-13s, 14+), advice on managing privacy settings and parental controls. They also offer a variety of educational films.

Young Stonewall

As well as offering general support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) young people, Young Stonewall offers specific guidance on managing online issues such as cyberbullying.

Dealing with inappropriate behaviour online

Children/young people should be advised to always tell an adult they trust about communications that make them feel uncomfortable or where they’ve been asked not to tell their parent/carer about the communication.

Always report any inappropriate communications you receive from a child.

Take action

  • Find out more about privacy settings, blocking and reporting from the links provided;
  • Take a look at the CEOP reporting feature – make sure this is on your club/league website;
  • Make sure you read all The FA’s Guidance Notes below.