SAFEGUARDING KIDS /YOUNG PLAYERS (SUB 18) RESPONSIBLE HOCKEY PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDELINES.

YOUNG PLAYERS (SUB 18) RESPONSIBLE HOCKEY PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDELINES.

It is wise precaution not to allow images on line where individual youngsters can be identified. (click to enlarge)

Does your club or organisation have a sound, written  policy in place for the conditions under which photographs and recorded images can be taken of youngsters and do you ensure that is rigorously observed? It appears to me that few do not and it is a matter, in my view which must be observed.

With ever cheaper, easy to use  imaging devices ( compact digital still and video and phone cameras for example) on the market most people now have the ability to take pictures in virtually any context and also the widespread ownership of various computing devices with internet access, coupled to the explosion in membership and active participation on social media like Facebook and Twitter it is possible now to take and then share images not only with friends and family but for any images potentially to be viewed by millions. Clubs have a duty of care to ensure that any use of imaging devices is controlled responsibly and carefully monitored.

I rarely cover junior events but where I do,  it is at clubs and events where universal parental consent has been given but also , whilst I always share senior game images on line via my website or business face books, I ensure no junior images are ever made publicly available to view and generally given in digital form to responsible officers of that club with complete control over how and where they are used.

There are very sound social, emotional , educational, motivational and personal reasons for recording kids in images where they are engaged in hockey games and other activities associated with club membership , and for example  celebrating and documenting development and achievements at various stages of their sporting lives. Photography can be a training tool but also one of the key ways of promoting the game.  Very few clubs engage professionals, (who would normally  be bona fide and very mindful of child protection issues and the laws governing for example privacy) on the grounds of costs.  Whilst photography by parents and spectators  should never be discouraged, in my view it is absolutely essential that clubs and hockey event organisers bear in mind their duty of care to juniors and have in place and always abide by  an agreed  policy to ensure responsible photography at all times.

I am a seasoned professional photographer and have covered field hockey for over a decade. I am also a retired specialist educator with 26 years experience working with often very vulnerable inner city kids with special needs and thus take duty of care very seriously.  Since retirement ,  I no longer work closely in either an educational or social care context with youngsters ( the two contexts where CRB  clearance is mandatory) and in fact there is no requirement for me, professionally,  to hold and carry CRB documentation but I have voluntarily acquired it  ( from the sport’s governing body) and carry it with me , (in fact have it on show ) when I photograph events where juniors are in attendance. (I also normally wear a high viz vest which identifies me clearly as a photographer.)

I habiitually wear evidence of CRB disclosure on a lanyard during most events i cover even though in law their is no obligation to either have it or display it when not working closely with youngsters in specific contexts.

It is so easy to snipe at  those who want to insist that photography involving kids is done with controls in place – along sensible and responsible guidelines, as being “over the top” and too “PC” but that would be to dismiss what are genuine risks to children particularly vulnerable where images are shared on line. ( For England Hockey special care in controls over photography is required for all juniors which they define as anyone under the age of 18 years ) Bear  in mind that it is relatively easy for a determined person with sinister intent to be able to identify locations and individuals and thereafter , in some cases , make contact via the internet . This is made more likely  where little or no control over photography is exercised at clubs and other venues. In addition ,  does , for example , your club allow juniors  to have surnames and nicknames printed or embroidered  on the back of their team shirts? Most responsible clubs understand that this custom places kids at greater risk because it makes them easily identifiable to strangers and I hold the strong view that it should not be permitted.

I have no professional association with England Hockey nor have I worked officially in any context for them but i am a huge fan of the game, happy to do what i can professionally at all levels of the game to help support and promote the game and its community . I wear this badge with pride.

You can read the excellent guidelines in respect of hockey photography,( which actually apply in so many other contexts ) published by the England Hockey / EHB here.

PHOTOGRAPHY AND RECORDED IMAGES OF YOUNG PEOPLE GUIDELINES

From time to time I may need to show a client samples of images from junior events and occasions on my business Facebook before sending them the originals and as a precaution use Photoshop to pixelate out the faces of youngsters so they cannot be identified even where parental consent has been given.

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