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Using OnForm To Stay SafeSport Compliant When Coaching Children Under The Age of 18

Increasingly, coaches and governing bodies have come under scrutiny for maintaining respectful and professional relationships between coaches and athletes. Schools, governing bodies, sporting clubs and coaches of all types should follow the guidance of the SafeSport organization. If you coach kids under the age of 18, you need to be particularly careful how you communicate with them. Born out of safety concerns and preventing abuse, SafeSport is the world leading body for educating, reporting and managing safe coaching relationships across all sports. They have enacted core policies to ensure the safety of both minor athletes and the coaches that work with them across many scenarios including travel, on-field relationships and electronic communications.

For our purposes, we'll focus on the online communication aspect of SafeSport.This article will provide you with best practices to ensure you maintain SafeSport compliance by using OnForm, which protects you and the child and will re-assure parents and others that their child's safety is the #1 priority.

While many countries have their own SafeSport organization, the United States Center for SafeSport is leading the educational efforts for coaches and athletes worldwide. Their Minor Abuse and Prevention Policies state that all electronic communications between coach and athlete must include another adult. This is the core tenant for our purposes with regard to video coaching and online coaching/communications in general.

OnForm has been designed with this in mind and coaches can easily configure their athlete workspace to include a parent, assistant coach or other adult guardian. You can see in the image below that Joe and Sally have been added as Members of the 'Annie Smith' workspace as her parents.

As the coach, sharing videos should be done using the Everyone group, and, similar to a group text, any message or video shared in the Everyone group will include Annie, Joe and Sally. Avoid sharing anything directly with Annie through her direct message Chat.

If the person you are coaching is under 13, there are additional provisions like COPPA and FERPA (related to school settings) which require additional security provisions. Our suggestion is to entirely avoid communicating electronically with children under 13. Note that our privacy policy prevents children under 13 from creating an account as well. The solution for coaching kids under 13 is similar to the above scenario, but with the one difference where you simply do not invite the child to connect with you in OnForm. You can use OnForm to capture video, organize it in the child's workspace, but when sharing video or text messages, only the parents whom you invite and connect with will receive the messages and videos you share in the Everyone channel. They will then show or relay the message/video to the child.

By adding other adults to a workspace and sharing with the Everyone channel, you'll keep yourself protected, your athlete protected and you'll reassure parents that you have the child's best interests and safety in mind.

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