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Electronic Communication Policy of the Ridgefield Aquatic Club

PURPOSE

The Ridgefield Aquatic Club (the “Club”) recognizes the prevalence of electronic communication and social media in today’s world. Many of our swimmers use these means as their primary methods of communication. While the Club acknowledges the value of these methods of communication, the Club also realizes that there are associated risks that must be considered when adults use these methods to communicate with minors.

GENERAL CONTENT

All communications between a coach or other adult and an athlete must be professional in nature and for the purpose of communicating information about team activities. The content and intent of all electronic communications must adhere to the USA Swimming Code of Conduct.

For example, as with any communication with an athlete, electronic communication should not contain references or relate to any of the following:

  • drug or alcohol use; ·  sexually oriented conversation, sexually explicit language and/or sexual activity;
  • the adult’s personal life, social activities, relationship or family issues or personal problems; and/or
  • inappropriate or sexually explicit pictures. 

Note: Any communication concerning an athlete's personal life, social activities, relationship or family issues or personal problems must be transparent, accessible and professional.

Whether one is an athlete, coach, board member or parent, the guiding principle to use in communication is:

  • “Is this communication something that someone else would find appropriate or acceptable in a face‐to‐face meeting?”
  • “Is this something I would be comfortable saying out loud to the intended recipient of my communication in front of the intended recipient’s parents, the coaching staff, the board or other athletes?”
  • “Is this something I would be comfortable with if it were on the front page of my local newspaper?”

With respect to electronic communications, electronic communications with swimmers should be Transparent, Accessible and Professional.

Transparent: All electronic communication between coaches and athletes should be transparent. Your communication should not only be clear and direct, but also free of hidden meanings, innuendo and expectations.

Accessible: All electronic communication between coaches and athletes should be considered part of the Club’s records. Whenever possible, include another coach or parent in the communication so that there is no question regarding accessibility.

Professional: All electronic communication between a coach and an athlete should be conducted professionally. This includes word choices, tone, grammar and subject matter that model the standards and integrity of a staff member.

If your communication meets all three of the T.A.P. criteria, then it is likely your method of communication with athletes will be appropriate.

FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, BLOGS AND SIMILAR SITES

Coaches may have personal Facebook (or other social media site) pages, but they are not permitted to have any athlete member of the Club join their personal page as a “friend.” A coach should not accept any “friend” request from an athlete, and the coach should remind the athlete that this is not permitted.

Coaches and athletes are not permitted to “private message” each other through Facebook or other social media. Coaches and athletes are not permitted to “instant message” each other through Facebook chat or other IM method.

Coaches are encouraged to set their pages to “private” to prevent athletes from accessing the coach’s personal information.

If the Club has an official Facebook page, athletes and their parents can “friend” the Club for information and updates on team‐related matters.

TWITTER/INSTAGRAM

Coaches and athletes may follow each other on Twitter/Instagram. Coaches and athletes are not permitted to “direct message” each other through Twitter/Instagram.  

TEXTING

Subject to the general guidelines mentioned above, texting is allowed between coaches and athletes during the hours from 4:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.  Texting only shall be used for the purpose of communicating information directly related to team activities.

EMAIL

Athletes and coaches may use email to communicate between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. When communicating with an athlete through email, a parent, another coach or a board member must also be copied.

REQUEST TO DISCONTINUE ALL ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS

The parents or guardians of an athlete may request in writing that coaches not contact their child through any form of electronic communication.