How to Protect Your Athlete
All-star parents, coaches, and gym owners must be aware that many of the images and videos that we enjoy sharing can be misused by people with bad intentions. It is imperative we teach our athletes how to share the sport they love in a responsible manner while portraying a positive image of their teammates, your program, and the sport as a whole.
The USASF Parent Actions Committee would like to highlight some steps to consider in protecting online privacy while monitoring the images of our athletes. We hope you would consider implementing these things at your program and recommend introducing them in various methods, from program information packets, to team and parent hand-outs. We find that as coaches and leaders, you often have more direct influence than most people in your athlete’s lives. Consider reviewing these issues at the start of each season and monitoring them throughout the year.
• Consider including online media sharing considerations as part of your program information packet.
• Include guidelines on using the program name on FaceBook, Twitter, and other message boards where kids and parents may post pictures or videos. Also consider guidelines for pictures of kids in uniform or other things representing the program such as t-shirts or sweatshirts.
Program Pages and Websites
• Keep personal details and images on your website restricted to membership only. Secure images on message boards as well as any personal or team information.
• Consider removing images and information on the open portions of your website that may be of an overly personal nature.
• If you administer your own message board, FaceBook, Twitter, or similar account be aware of access guidelines. People who follow you on Twitter or are “Friends” on FaceBook can reflect on your program as well. It is worth your time to investigate new people that are added or do a periodic check for questionable information. You can adjust an individual’s settings to post, view, or even block the individual through your
• Look for options such as “Private” or “Friends only.” Options such as “Friends of Friends”, “Everyone” or “Public” allow open access to your content.
• Set your account so that people must be “Friends” or “Followers” in order to view content. Look for separate settings for pictures and video.
• Look for unfamiliar people who “tag” themselves in your content. Tagging gives the person access to your picture on their personal account. The original poster of the picture or video can remove the tag or can even “block” the individual to remove complete access.
• TEST: Search for your profile or name without logging into your account. You’ll see what the public sees. Also “Googling” your name or e-mail address might also show you things that you didn’t know were public as well
• Make sure you check the setting to always approve a new “Friend,” “Follower” or “Subscriber.” It’s cool to have more friends but you have to be careful of the new friends that you don’t know. If you’re not sure of someone take a look at their account and see what content they are posting and who their friends are. Often times it tells you a lot about the individual.
What if Someone has Links to Questionable Material on Their Account?
Most of the websites like FaceBook and Twitter do not control information that is linked to other sites. They will only remove content that is on their profile itself. If you see links to bad material, blocking that person is your best option. If you think the person is linking to illegal material, it’s best to report them to the website and pass on this knowledge to all of your friends.
What do I do When I Find a Questionable Individual?
If you don’t like what someone is posting on their FaceBook, Twitter, Youtube, or other account the best option is to just block them. Instruct your kids to also notify their friends or anyone else you see who has that person as “Friend,” “Follower” or “Subscriber.” DO NOT however try to play cop in these situations. Report the individual to the website and allow the authorities to monitor the situation. Look in the website Help Section on what you are able to report and how to accomplish this. Fernando Molina