Social media guidance for clubs - The key messages

Basketball teams and clubs can benefit from using social media to promote and celebrate activities, events, achievements and competitions. It can highlight success, promote community programme's and communicate/update fans and followers with developments within the club. 

However, this can also pose potential safeguarding risks to children and young people if it is not managed correctly. Potential risks that face young people and their online safety are, but not limited to:

  • posting personal information that can identify and locate a child offline

  • potential for inappropriate relationships between adults in positions of trust and the young people they work with

  • sexual grooming, luring, exploitation and abuse, or unwanted contact

  • exposure to inappropriate content, including pornography, racist or hate material or violent behaviour

  • glorifying activities such as drug taking or excessive drinking

Before clubs and teams start to promote through their social media channels with the use of photos and videos they should have already obtained written consent from the young person and their parent/guardian which is updated on a yearly basis. This consent should explicitly state what the images are to be used for and where they are to be used. If it is not clear, this could mean that clubs and teams fall short of not only their own photography policies, but also Basketball England's which can lead to sanctions. If clubs and teams need to implement or update their photography consent forms, we provide a template on our website which can be accessed here

I have identified below the top uses of social media by clubs/teams and the potential risks that can arise if they are not managed correctly: 

Squad lists and photos

  • Identifying players within squad lists and photos is a great way to give players a sense of togetherness and belonging within a club, but you need to be careful as to what information is provided alongside a post on social media

  • You should not be posting images and names of players under the age of 18 along side personal details, which includes, personal social media accounts, email addresses and dates of birth.

  • The reason for this is that this can identify the player not only online but also offline and potentially lead to that player being identified and contacted by unwanted or dangerous individuals.

Player of the week/MVP

  • We all know players work hard to be successful in basketball throughout the season but there is always a player who goes that extra mile on the court and recognising them for their efforts with an award can give them that determination to continue with their work ethics throughout each game. 

  • Singling out a player for their commitment on social can also put unwanted pressure and attention on this player, leading to unwanted contact. 

  • You should thinking about the information that you post alongside their image and/or name such as, not posting their personal social media page, date of birth and/or information that can identify their location.

Play of the week

  • Coaches work hard to get their players to run the plays that they work hard on during training so identifying great players that are executed to perfection, recognises the hard work that the whole team works on during the week. 

  • Before you do this, you need to think about consents. Not only the consent of your own team but also the consent of the opposing team and also that they are aware and identified that they are happy for the video clip to be posted on social media.

  • Consent and the details around what the opposing team are consenting too should be gain in writing before the event and not on the day of. This allows for parents/guardians to consider if they wish to consent to this. 

Each club should have its own social media policy which identifies their aims, objectives and how they safeguarding under 18's within their club when they use social media for promotion of their teams. Basketball England has developed a social media policy that highlights 20 points to keep everyone safe on social media. This policy can be accessed here and we have also created a template for clubs to fill out, use to develop and implement their own. 

You should always 'think before you post', you should always consider any messages, photos, videos or information and do they comply with existing policies within your club, team or organisation. If you are unsure, it is best not to post it, hold off and check with someone who will know. The Child Protection in Sport unit provides more information and templates for good practice in social media in sport.

Messages which are defamatory, libellous or obscene are prohibited at all times. Failure to do so may result in significant personal distress, risk to the reputation of the individual, the sport and/or the club, and may require the intervention and/or investigation by Basketball England.