Internet Use Policy
Internet and Chat Protocol
We recognise that the internet is a vital tool for engaging young people, and that some young people feel more comfortable talking to a worker via online chat than they would in a physical 1-1 setting. However, we recognise that such communication should never be allowed to take the place of physical meetings, and that things which are said in an online forum should be a starting point for discussion and further work at the group meetings.
This protocol is designed to give some sensible guidance to allow Internet communication to happen in as safe a way as possible and to ensure that we keep an appropriate record of contact with young people when it happens outside the usual group settings.
Young people should only be allowed to become members of the Facebook page for the group, not the pages of individual workers. If young people request individual workers/ trustees a message should be sent explaining that we cannot be their ‘friend’ individually but that they can talk to the workers via the group pages.
When a young person chats with a worker on Facebook that conversation should be kept in the chat list, each worker should identify themselves in the chat by thier first first name or initials.
Staff should ensure that the hours they spend engaging with young people via Facebook are appropriate and do not exceed the hours they are expected to work that month. Chat on facebook should not normally take place out of the hours of 8am - 9pm. We understand that there needs to be a degree of flexibility in this, as it is often most convenient for a worker to check the Facebook page in short bursts at irregular times.
Use of the internet by young people in the centre
Use of the internet in the centre by young people is controlled by use of a key to access the wifi. The desk top and lap top are only used in a supervised environment where the screens can be seen by the youth workers or trustees running the session who can monitor appropriate use. Periodic reviews are made of internet history and parental controls are applied to the young people’s log on account. Any specific issues with young people accessing the internet are contained in their individual risk assessments and promulgated to the staff and trustees as appropriate.
Questions or concerns regarding this protocol should be sent to the chair.
Created 10th October 2010
Reviewed March 2013
Reviewed March 2016
Next Review March 2019 or sooner