Photos, videos, and social media

Information for schools and organisations

Schools, community organisations and sporting clubs may take and share photographs and videos to record events and celebrate achievements. To ensure that everyone can enjoy sharing photos and videos, you should consider having a social media policy and consent arrangements in place.

Does my organisation need a social media policy?

It is good practice for all organisations to have a current social media policy. The policy should provide information on:

  • defining and setting out how your organisation will approach and manage social media
  • what constitutes acceptable and non-acceptable use of social media
  • the unacceptability of cyberbullying/harassment and the steps the organisation will take in response to incidents
  • procedures for monitoring social media accounts
  • use of organisation or school logos/IP or reference to a brand
  • how the organisation trains staff in social media
  • consequences of non-compliance
  • how the organisation will manage the sharing of photos and videos of children.

Social media policies should also include a mechanism to acknowledge and accept the terms of the policy. Further information on social media and sport can be found at the Clearinghouse for Sport website.

What is best practice for photographing and filming children?

Best practice around photographing and filming children includes:

  • seeking parental consent for photos and videos on a child’s enrolment or registration
  • stating whether the organisation permits parents/carers to record events.

For schools please refer to the body representing your school sector for more information on their social media policies.

Do I need to get consent from parents when publishing photos and videos on social media?

Organisations and schools need written consent from the parents/carers of a child or young person for any photos or videos before they are published on any media including social media sites, websites or newsletters.

It is good practice to ensure you provide as much information on the possible use of the image/s to enable parents to have a clear understanding of what they are consenting to. For example; include a description detailing how the image will be used including future use if that is proposed. You may prefer to give parents the option of only agreeing to the use for a particular purpose and with future use needing separate approval. You could do this by including in your consent forms a check box that asks for specific permissions for an event or specific publication and another check box for broader use of an image/s.

Clubs, schools and organisations may wish to seek legal advice when deciding on what approach to take when publishing photos of children. Some organisations only publish photos of children from behind to avoid identification.

Consider including on any consent form that “any image that is published online can be copied and redistributed without the knowledge of the person that uploaded it. Once published, we may not be able to retrieve or delete images if consent is withdrawn after publishing”.

How do we manage information, photos and videos posted on our social media sites?

Schools and organisations should appoint a moderator for their social media pages who will be responsible for reviewing and monitoring the content regularly. A moderation policy should also be developed, and should be accessible in the school or organisation’s social media policy.

The moderator should:

  • be aware of privacy settings on social media services
  • understand the websites/apps that they are using when uploading photos and videos
  • proactively monitor the social media page
  • remove potentially defamatory material as soon as possible

Information and safety guides for the most popular social media sites and apps can be found on our Games, apps and social networking pages.

Storing photos and videos taken by teachers or coaches

Ideally organisations and schools should have protocols on the storing of videos and photos which require:

  • secure passcodes/passwords for all devices to stop unauthorised access
  • use of devices that are owned by the organisation and/or school to take photos and videos
  • secure storage of photos and videos (e.g. secure school server) and their deletion from the devices within a reasonable time. 

Publishing photos via online fundraising platforms

Most online fundraising platforms require fundraisers to set up a profile to help in their fundraising efforts. Profiles may include images of the fundraiser, along with other personal information including their name and school or organisation.

A thorough risk assessment is advised before using online fundraising with your community. Written consent should also be obtained from children’s parents or carers, with risks and safety features clearly communicated. Offering an alternative mode of fundraising should also be considered.

Some key areas of a risk assessment may include: third party app data sharing; password protection; geo-location tracking/identification; privacy settings and procedures (following the Australian Privacy Principles); and pseudonymisation options.

Other online safety considerations may include:

  • Is a child’s personal information publicly displayed i.e. date of birth, gender, name of school?
  • Is there the potential for unwanted contact?
  • Is connected data such as a donor’s name publicly displayed?
  • Does the platform encourage children and young people to leverage their social networks?
  • Is the profile linked to apps that may display a child’s location?
  • Does the platform have capacity to report problems or misuse?
  • Is there a moderator for chat or comment functions?

What should we be aware of when posting photos and videos?

Photos and videos on social media sites may be easily copied and uploaded to many other websites. Before posting a photo or video consider your intended audience.

Avoid photos and videos that:

  • are indecent, offensive or demeaning to any person
  • harm or injure someone’s reputation and/or open them to public ridicule and embarrassment
  • contain personal details for example full names, personal contact information or uniforms that identify location
  • show a child who is clearly upset or distressed.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies website provides further information on the protection and privacy and the safety of children together with guidance on the publishing images of children and young people online.


For sporting organisations

This guide offers sporting organisations and clubs the chance to review and improve eSafety policies and practices—to identify online risks and ways to better manage social media use and online behaviour by managers, coaches, officials, participants, parents/carers and volunteers.

For further information on taking photos and videos of children in sporting clubs see the Play by the Rules website.

Creating a culture of eSafety for your organisation – Head of Sport

This document outlines some key online safety messages for Head of Sports to consider when working with their coaches. It includes some scenarios that could be used in a training context to highlight online risks and discuss risk mitigation strategies

Creating a team culture of eSafety – Coaches

This document outlines some helpful tips for coaches to build an eSafe team culture. It includes establishing online boundaries, reporting processes, the use of photos and videos and setting a positive social media agenda with your team.

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