This policy should be read alongside Ashton Community Trust’s policies and procedures on child protection and safeguarding.
The purpose of this policy statement
Ashton Community Trust works with children, young people and families as part of its activities. These include childcare and family support, youth and arts programmes.
The purpose of this policy statement is to:
- ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people is paramount when adults, young people or children are using the internet, social media or mobile devices
- provide staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to online safety
- ensure that, as an organisation, we operate in line with our values and within the law in terms of how we use online devices.
The policy statement applies to all staff, volunteers, children and young people and anyone involved in Ashton Community Trust’s activities.
This policy has been drawn up on the basis of legislation, policy and guidance that seeks to protect children in Northern Ireland.
Summaries of the key legislation and guidance are available on:
- online abuse: learning.nspcc.org.uk/child-abuse-and-neglect/online-abuse
- bullying: learning.nspcc.org.uk/child-abuse-and-neglect/bullying
- child protection: learning.nspcc.org.uk/child-protection-system
We believe that:
- children and young people should never experience abuse of any kind
- children should be able to use the internet for education and personal development, but safeguards need to be in place to ensure they are kept safe at all times.
We recognise that:
- the online world provides everyone with many opportunities; however it can also present risks and challenges
- we have a duty to ensure that all children, young people and adults involved in our organisation are protected from potential harm online
- we have a responsibility to help keep children and young people safe online, whether or not they are using Ashton Community Trust’s network and devices
- all children, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
- working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare and in helping young people to be responsible in their approach to online safety.
We will seek to keep children and young people safe by:
- appointing an online safety coordinator within each of relevant ACT Programmes
- providing clear and specific directions to staff and volunteers on how to behave online and online safety through supervision, support and training
- supporting and encouraging the young people using our service to use the internet, social media and mobile phones in a way that keeps them safe and shows respect for others
- supporting and encouraging parents and carers to do what they can to keep their children safe online
- developing an online safety agreement for use with young people and their parents/carers
- adhering to reporting procedures within the child protection policy should there be incidents of inappropriate online behaviour, whether by an adult or a child/young person
- reviewing and updating the security of our information systems regularly
- ensuring that user names, logins, email accounts and passwords are used effectively and safely
- ensuring personal information about the adults and children who are involved in our organisation is held securely and shared only as appropriate in accordance with GDPR
- ensuring that images of children, young people and families are used only after their written permission has been obtained, and only for the purpose for which consent has been given
- examining and risk assessing any social media platforms and new technologies before they are used within the organisation.
If online abuse occurs, we will respond to it by:
- following ACT’s child protection policy and procedures in place for responding to abuse
- providing support and training for all staff and volunteers on dealing with all forms of abuse
Related policies and procedures
This policy statement should be read alongside our organisational policies and procedures, including:
- Child protection
- Code of conduct for working with Children and Young People
- Anti-bullying policy and procedures
- Photography and image sharing guidance
Contact details Online Safety Co-ordinators:
Ashton Community Trust: Leo Morgan: 07912274647 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Breakthrough: Tony Crowe: 07734950155 email: email@example.com
New Lodge Arts/ Fablab: Anne Delaney: 07736389968 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
New Lodge Youth Centre: Sean Breen: 07714600943 email: email@example.com
Core Programme: Sean Maguire: 07801208217/email: firstname.lastname@example.org