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Communication Policies

 

Electronic Communication Policy of the Monterey County Aquatic Team
 
PURPOSE
The Monterey County Aquatic Team recognizes the prevalence of electronic communication
and social media in today’s world. Many of our swimmers use these means as their primary
method 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 regarding
Athlete Protection.
 
For example, as with any communication with an athlete, electronic communication should not
contain or relate to any of the following:
• drugs or alcohol use;
• sexually oriented conversation; sexually explicit language; sexual activity
• the adult’s personal life , social activities, relationship or family issues, or personal
problems; and
• 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 always
use in communication is to ask: “Is this communication something that someone else would
find appropriate or acceptable in a face-to-face meeting?” or “Is this something you would be
comfortable saying out loud to the intended recipient of your communication in front of the
intended recipient’s parents, the coaching staff, the board, or other athletes?”
 
With respect to electronic communications, a simple test that can be used in most cases
is whether the electronic communication with swimmers is 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
a matter of record and part of the Club’s records. Whenever possible, include another coach or
parent in the communication so that there is no question regarding accessibility.
 
www.usaswimming.org/protect
 
Professional: All electronic communication between a coach and an athlete should be
conducted professionally as a representative of the Club. 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. In addition, the coach should
remind the athlete that this is not permitted. Coaches and athletes are not permitted to
“private message” each other through Facebook. Coaches and athletes are not permitted to
“instant message” each other through Facebook chat or other IM method.
 
The Club has an official Facebook page that athletes and their parents can “friend” for
information and updates on team-related matters.
 
Coaches are encouraged to set their pages to “private” to prevent athletes from accessing the
coach’s personal information.
 
TWITTER
Best Practice: The Club has an official Twitter page that coaches, athletes and parents can
follow for information and updates on team-related matters. Coaches are not permitted to
follow athletes on Twitter. Likewise, athletes are not permitted to follow coaches on Twitter.
Coaches and athletes are not permitted to “direct message” each other through Twitter.
 
TEXTING
Subject to the general guidelines mentioned above, texting is allowed between coaches and
athletes during the hours from 7am until 9pm. 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 7am and 9pm.
When communicating with an athlete through email, a parent, another coach, or a board
member must also be copied. Automatic e-mails sent by coaches through TeamUnify for scheduled events/meetings are an exception. 
 
REQUEST TO DISCONTINUE ALL ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS
The parents or guardians of an athlete may request in writing that their child not be contacted
by coaches through any form of electronic communication.
 
www.usaswimming.org/protect