Digital safeguarding procedures

Follow these procedures to make sure you're staying safe online and following our Digital safeguarding policy

The online space is an increasingly important area for Girlguiding, and we recognise the opportunities and challenges that this brings.

Girlguiding supports our members in developing their digital skills, through a wide range of programmes and activities. We use third party social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and digital platforms such as the Girlguiding website to engage with our members, their parents/carers and volunteers. And volunteers also use social media and the internet to communicate with one another, and with young members and their parents/carers.

We want to continue to provide a safe space for members to explore and communicate online, so it’s important that we understand the risks and issues that the online space brings and have the appropriate procedures in place.

These procedures are for members and volunteers and should be read alongside the Digital safeguarding policy. They detail what you need to do in order to keep to the policy and they give information about what to you should do.

Mitigations – how does Girlguiding try to manage risk?

A range of measures are in place to mitigate and manage online risks

  • Minimising the personal information that is shared on third party social media channels.
  • Seeking permission to share information about members and volunteers where appropriate.
  • Supporting volunteers in setting up social media channels effectively.
  • Removing and blocking offensive posts, comments and imagery.
  • Supporting and advising members, volunteers and staff about how to block, and remove offensive posts, comments and imagery.
  • Supporting members, volunteers and staff  to block and report online bullying.
  • Supporting members, volunteers and staff to remove users who break these rules.
  • Encouraging the reporting of abuse.
  • Supporting members and volunteers if and when an online bullying incident occurs.
  • Report allegations to police and support others to report to the police.
  • Signposting users to additional support services.
  • Referring victims of online abuse to additional support.

See our Safeguarding policy and procedures, Managing information policy, data protection guidance and social media support for more information.

What is acceptable use of ICT, the internet, social media, mobile phones and digital technologies?

As volunteers you must understand what's acceptable. And you need to make sure young members know what is acceptable and unacceptable when using digital technology. You must follow these procedures.

Use of Girlguiding equipment by members and volunteers

Where Girlguiding or local units have access to devices, and devices are owned by the unit or Girlguiding, there must be necessary mitigations in place to protect members and volunteers. These include:

  • Technical solutions to reduce access to inappropriate content. These could be filtering or monitoring software, for example parental controls or up to date security software.
  • Agreement to use the equipment safely, securely and responsibly.

Users of Girlguiding’s equipment should never:

  • Share, download, print or distribute any content that is defamatory, obscene, indecent, pornographic, offensive, discriminatory, sexual or violent or any other content that may cause harassment, alarm or distress.
  • Use any Girlguiding equipment to cause harassment, alarm or distress to others.

Girlguiding and volunteers should always make sure that where access is offered or managed by Girlguiding to young members, there is age appropriate supervision and quality assurance. Also, make sure that security and safety settings have been installed at the set-up stage. You should refer to the manufacturers best practice guides for full information.

Use of mobile phones by Girlguiding volunteers 

Volunteers are not provided with a Girlguiding mobile phone so you may use your own personal device.

As a Girlguiding volunteer you may use mobile phones in unit activities and sessions to deliver an activity or take photos, or on camps, outings and trips.

If volunteers do use their personal devices for Girlguiding business, they must follow the rules below and they must get permission from parents/carers before they take photos or share images.

Volunteers should always:

  • Gain permission before taking pictures.
  • Delete pictures from your personal device once they have been used for the purpose that they were taken for or 14 days after the event has taken place. You must check personal cloud back ups and make sure that pictures are deleted from here as well.
  • Make sure that phones and other electronic devices that hold Girlguiding data are password protected.

Volunteers should never:

  • Take photos of young members using your personal mobile phones without the explicit permission of parents or carers.
  • Share imagery or personal information about young members on social media or the internet without consent of parent or carers.

Use of mobile phones by young members

Young members may bring their mobile devices to unit meetings and camps, but each unit must decide this beforehand.

Young members should always:

  • Use their mobile phone appropriately and responsibly.
  • Seek permission to share photos/imagery and videos.

Young members should never:

  • Use their device to bully, harass, alarm, distress or harm another young member or a volunteer
  • Share images or videos on social media without permission.
  • Access, download, view or distribute inappropriate, pornographic, discriminatory or hate material.
  • Contact volunteers directly without their parents/carer’s permission, except in an emergency.

Use of the internet and social media by volunteers

Volunteers should always:

  • Make it clear on personal social media accounts - using disclaimers - that their views, thoughts and opinions are personal to them and not reflective of Girlguiding policies, procedures or guidance.
  • Check any facts that are shared to avoid misinformation.
  • Check that those responsible for the management and operations of Girlguiding social media accounts have set them up appropriately.
  • Report and record online incidents appropriately.
  • Act in accordance with the Girlguiding’s volunteer Code of Conduct.
  • Ensure that users are appropriately managed in accordance with the procedures set out here and all community guidelines and terms and conditions set out by third party social media providers

Volunteers should never:

  • Post or share information including imagery that is discriminatory, of a sexual nature, pornographic, obscene, violent, offensive or content that may cause distress, harassment or alarm to others or bring Girlguiding into disrepute.
  • Share opinions which may be viewed as discriminatory abuse against anyone on the basis of the protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010. These are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
  • Share photographs or communicate with young members via social media privately without parent or carer permission.
  • Contact volunteers who are under the age of 14 directly using social media (via their personal accounts) without their parents or carers permission.

Use of the internet and social media by young members

Young members should always:

  • Use social media responsibly and safely.
  • Use the appropriate privacy settings.

Young members should never:

  • Send friend requests or follow volunteers individually/personally without their parents or carers permission.
  • Use social media inappropriately or if they are underage.
  • Bully, harass, intimidate, alarm or cause distress to another person using social media.
  • Share pornographic, sexually explicit or inappropriate material.
  • Post and share photos without the permission of other girls or volunteers.

 Use of technology for virtual unit meetings by volunteers

See our advice on running your unit meetings online.

Virtual meetings must not be recorded. The virtual meeting organiser must check meeting settings to ensure that this facility is turned off.

Volunteers should always:

  • Get written permission from parent/carer for girls to join in.
  • Use the parent/carers online account unless the young member meets the age restriction for the platform you are using.
  • Be dressed appropriately. Uniform isn't necessary, but everyone must be fully dressed in clothing that covers top and bottom halves of the body.
  • Check the environment that you are broadcasting from is suitable. Try to avoid making calls from bedrooms, but if this is not possible then blur the background or add a virtual background or position the device so that only a small part of the room can be seen.
  • Ensure that members of your household are dressed appropriately  - fully dressed in clothing that covers top and bottom halves of the body -  or remain out of the background.
  • Make sure that an appropriate adult is in the room with a young member during the call if they are a under 14.
  • Make sure that an appropriate adult is in the vicinity during the call if they are 14 or over.
  • Make sure that a minimum of two adult volunteers are present throughout the video call - this also applies to break out rooms.
  • At least one adult volunteer on the video call must hold their Leadership qualification and a current disclosure check (DBS, PVG, Access NI or international) as required for their role. It is recommended that they hold a Girlguiding Level 3 Safe space qualification.
  • Any adult volunteer that holds a role that does not require a disclosure check will always be supervised.
  • Stay online until all young members have safely left the meeting.
  • Check the terms and conditions of social media sites to make sure they are suitable for the girls in your unit.
  • Check that materials that you share with your unit are suitable and age appropriate.

Volunteers should never:

  • Contact young members under 14 directly
  • Be in a one-one conversation with a young member through video messaging
  • Contact a young member or parent/carer using online virtual meeting calls outside of the pre-arranged meeting time

Use of technology for virtual unit meetings by young members

Young members should always:

  • Have an appropriate adult with them in the same room if they are under 14 and involved in a video call.
  • Have an appropriate adult in the vicinity if they are 14 or over and involved in a video call.
  • Be fully dressed. Uniform isn't necessary but they should be fully dressed in clothing that covers top and bottom halves of the body.
  • Try to avoid making calls from their bedrooms, but if this is not possible then blur the background or add a virtual background or position the device so that only a small part of the room can be seen.

Young members should never

  • Be in a one to one conversation with a volunteer

In cases of child and adult safeguarding and protection all volunteers should refer to Girlguiding’s safeguarding and child protection policy and procedures

Support organisations

These organisations offer additional support on a range of digital and safeguarding topics.