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Child Online Protection Guidelines

v1.0 – 30 September 2013

These Child Online Protection Guidelines contain valuable information on the online presence of young people. These Guidelines are aimed at young people and their parents and guardians.

To Minors

+13

You must be at least 13 years old to be able to create an account on the scout.org website.

Respect

The scout.org website is a place where Scouts can share their experiences. Stay positive and always remember the Scout Law and Scout Promise.

Communication online

Bear in mind that an online environment is different from the offline world. Messages online may easily be misunderstood.

Safety

We want scout.org to be a safe website. If you feel uncomfortable at any stage, report the incident to the administrator.

Set your limits

Most of the information you publish online will probably stay online indefinitely. Think about what type of information you want to share, and what you would like to keep private.

Meeting offline

One of the great things about scout.org is that you can get to know more fellow Scouts and maybe meet them in real life as well. However, you should be very careful in doing so. Your online contacts might be different in the offline world. Ask a trustworthy adult to accompany you.

React

Protect yourself from upsetting or distressing content. Report bad behaviour and leave unpleasant conversations. Steer away from violence or sexual content.

Talk to your parents

If you have any concerns or problems while online, you need to tell someone you can trust, for example your parents or guardian. They can help and give you advice on what to do.

To Parents and Guardians

In today’s society, there are many ways to communicate and the Internet and social media have become a natural part of young people’s lives.

What is my child doing on scout.org?

Just like adult Scouts, young Scouts are invited to use scout.org to connect with other Scouts — through messages and by sharing photos, videos, links and other kinds of information. They use scout.org to announce and share Scout related achievements, learn about other Scout projects and connect with Scouts across the world.

Start a conversation

Parents do not need to be social media experts in order to ask questions and begin an on-going dialogue with their children. Have conversations about safety and technology early and often, in the same way that you talk to your kids about being safe at school, in traffic or when doing sports.

One of the best ways to begin a conversation is to ask your child why services like scout.org are important to them. You might also ask them to show you the scout.org website, so you know what it is all about. Discuss what type of information is appropriate to share online—and, more importantly, what is not.

Learn from your child

Today’s children have grown up with the Internet, mobile phones and text messaging. Most of them do not distinguish between being online or off. New technology has always been a part of their lives, so when we write it off as trivial or a waste of time, we criticise a big part of their social interaction. You probably know this already, but unless you are really on top of social media, your child probably knows more about it than you do. That is OK. Do not be afraid to ask your child to show you the ropes!

It’s about respect

It is also important to talk about the Golden Rule: treating others the way you want to be treated. This also applies to using new technologies. Make sure your children know where to go for support if someone ever harasses them. Help them understand how to make responsible and safe choices about what they post—because anything they put online can be misinterpreted or taken out of context.

If you are signed up on scout.org, try to respect the same boundaries you use offline. Let your relationship dictate how you interact. For example, if you join a conversation among your child’s friends or if you post a comment on their content. Think of social media as a get-together at one of your child’s friends’ house. You can give permission for your child to attend, and even though you will not be there to monitor their behaviour, you trust your child to have good judgment around peers and other parents. It is all about balancing your child’s growing independence and need for privacy with your safety concerns.

Tips for parents

1. Safety & security of your personal computer

a. Keep the computer in a common room

b. Install firewall and antivirus software

2. Rules

a. Agree house rules about using the Internet and personal devices, giving particular attention to issues of privacy, age inappropriate places, bullying and stranger danger

b. Agree rules about use of mobile devices

3. Parents’, Guardians’ and Teachers’ education

a. Parents, guardians and teachers should be familiar with the Internet sites used by their children and should have a good understanding of how children spend their time online

b. Parents, guardians and educators should understand how children use other personal devices such as mobile phones, games consoles, MP3 players, PDAs, etc.www.itu.int/cop

4. Children’s education

Educate your children on the risks associated with sharing personal information; arranging face-to-face meetings with a person/s they have met online; posting photographs online; making use of the webcam; etc.

5. Communication

Communicate with your children about their experiences

For more information, see World Scouting’s policy on Child Protection. All adults are also encouraged to complete the Keeping Scouts Safe from Harm online training.