Using social media

Ensure you - and your girls - stay safe on social media with these simple guidelines

We want to encourage you to make the most of social media to share your guiding story

However, it's also important that you - and your young members - are aware of the potential risks around social media and networking online. This page covers guidance on using social media to promote and organise your unit, and on supporting young members to use social media safely.

Using social media to promote and administer your unit

Creating a social media profile for your unit

Using social media can be a great way to promote your unit. As well as following our guidance on setting up a social media page, ensure that the Leadership Team have given consent to share information in your posts and photo permissions have been given.

Avoid sharing all the details about your local meeting - only include the weekday, time and a rough location.

Setting up groups on Facebook

We know that units and other local groups may want to create Facebook groups. These groups are easy to set up and you do not have to be friends with someone to invite them so you can reach more people. However, when setting up your group, make sure that you:

  • create a private or 'secret' group - so that no one can see who belongs to your group unless they are a member
  • adjust your privacy settings to moderate who can become a member of your group
  • only invite/accept people who you know
  • ensure content of the group is appropriate and relevant for the age of its members
  • have a minimum of two administrators, whose job is to moderate interactions and flag any concerns.

Asking your group to follow an online or social networking code of conduct - you can create this yourself - can encourage young members and adult volunteers to be respectful online.

Please note that none of the groups currently on Facebook have been set up or endorsed by Girlguiding - so there is no guarantee that these contain genuine Girlguiding members.

Girls using social media

It is essential to make your Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and members of The Senior Section aware of the potential risks of interacting online. Keeping up-to-date with digital technology is the best way to look after girls and young women online - but here are some simple guidelines to give your girls to make sure they stay safe.

 

Maintaining a profile

It is important for young members to think carefully about what information they disclose on their profile page and choose their display pictures wisely.

When posting content, encourage girls to consider if:

  • it is suitable for others to see
  • the message could be misinterpreted
  • it is offensive
  • it could be considered a form of bullying.

Remind young members that what they post online may be viewed by their school, college or university.

Young members should think about the things they are posting in the same way that adults should. If they are unsure, advise them to ask another person to check the post first.

Flagging concerns - where possible, girls should look out for their friends and tell a trusted adult if they are worried about something they see online. Visit CEOP's Thinkuknow website for further information and advice.

Accepting, talking to and meeting ‘friends’ or other contacts

Young members may be contacted on social media by people they don’t know, and some may request to add them as a ‘friend’ or ‘contact’. Emphasise to young members that they should only accept people they actually know as friends, and remind them that they can always block or delete a contact if necessary.

Ensure that girls are aware that people they meet online are strangers and they should not:

  • meet up with them
  • provide them with any personal details - such as their address, telephone number or school name
  • ask for the stranger's personal details.

If they do decide to meet someone they have met online, they must tell a parent/carer who can go with them.

Private inbox messaging or 'direct messaging'

Many social networking sites give users the option to send private messages or direct messages (DMs) to other users.

Remind young members not to respond to private inbox messages unless they actually know the sender. If they do receive a private inbox message from someone they don’t know and decide they would like to reply, they should make a trusted adult aware of this communication.

Passwords and privacy settings

Tell girls to keep their login details and passwords safe and secure. They should not share this information with anyone else.

Privacy settings - which allow users to control who sees their posts and information - will vary between different social networking sites. Members should check their settings regularly for each of the sites they use, to make sure they reflect exactly what they do (and don't) want their contacts to see.

Age restrictions

Many social networking sites have minimum age requirements for joining. Please ensure that young members are aware of this. Sometimes, young people will use social networking sites at a younger age than is recommended, so we must offer them a safe space to talk about their online interactions.

Stay safe online

Find out more about how to use the internet and social media safely from A Safe Cyberspace.