Play safe - Online
At the FA our approach to safeguarding – and our responsibility to keep children safe – applies to the online environment as much as to the offline world.
We know that teams, clubs, and leagues really benefit from online and digital technology. Whether communicating team results or a change of venue, promoting social events, or sharing coaching tips and skills to encourage and support new volunteers – it helps teams and clubs to run effectively and be better connected.
For clubs to benefit safely from the online environment, it is important they follow best practice in social media and technology use. Club officials, match officials and parents/carers involved in football should understand how their safeguarding responsibilities apply online.
We've shared key FA guidance on this below for clubs, players and parents/carers – as well as signposting to other useful sources of information on all aspects of digital safety and wellbeing. We will continue to share advice and good practice on online safety in our training, guidance and communications.
Supporting Safer Internet Day 2024 – Tuesday 6th February
Every February, The FA is pleased to support Safer Internet Day (SID). The day aims 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 we’re promoting three key messages:
1. Children/young people: Be kind, respectful and protect your online presence/activity.
2. 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.
3. 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.
Head of Safeguarding 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.”
You can read more about Safer Internet Day 2024 here.