Staying Safe Online

Besides being a great source for funny cat videos, the Internet has the power to bring people closer together. For Scouts, we know it can be a great source for tools and information to make the world a better place. In this exceptional times there is a real opportunity to harness digital tools to stay connected and socialise in a positive and healthy way even if you are self isolating. 

However, the Internet can also be a source of serious issues, like cyberbullying, harassment, identity theft and abuse. This can happen when chatting and posting on social media, gaming platforms and even Scouting channels – just as bad things sometimes happen in real life.

Online behaviour that is unacceptable includes: stealing private information, sending, posting or sharing false content about someone else, continuing to contact someone who asked not to be contacted, sending inappropriate remarks or photos to a young person or asking them to do so, and sending threats or hate speech. Staying safe online


We want Scouts like you to feel safe online so that you can continue to use the Internet to create a better world. Make sure you are always prepared by reading these tips to stay safe online:

Golden Rules of Internet Safety: 

Be kind 

Treat others with kindness, the way you would want to be treated. Respect differences in feelings and opinions. If you witness bullying online, you should let a trusted adult know.

Be mindful about what you share  

Don’t share your – or anyone else’s – personal information online. This includes addresses, phone numbers, passwords and pictures you wouldn’t want the public to see. Before sharing anything about another person, ask them if they are ok with it. Check your sources and make sure any news or facts you share are true.

Don’t meet in-person with people you meet online

People you’ve only met online are still strangers – even if you’ve been talking for a long time. Sometimes, a person might lie about who they are, which can be dangerous. Check with your parents or carers for permission to meet someone you’ve met online, and only meet them with them present.

Keep your personal information private

Check the “Privacy Settings” on your social media channels and make them private so that your personal information is only shared with those you choose to have as friends. Even then, never post personal information on the Internet.

Report harmful posts or content

Here’s a way you can help make the Internet a safer place for everyone! If a post online makes you feel uncomfortable, take the responsibility to click “Report”. This includes posts that are inappropriate or harmful to yourself or others. 

Tell a trusted adult

If you receive messages or see posts that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, tell a trusted adult, like a family member or Scout leader, about the message you received or the post you saw. 

Safety Online Booklets

The Scout Association have some fantastic booklets available specific for each section about staying safe online:

The Yellow Card – Young People First

When Scouting Online, the principles of the ‘Yellow Card’ and ‘Child protection policy’ applies.

There must be at least two adults present at all times during any online activity. Ideally both adults should be Scout volunteers, but you can use a parent rota to support as you might normally do. Young people must never be left in a one-to-one situation with an adult. This protects us all and also ensures that young people understand that even in these difficult times, the Scouts take safeguarding seriously.

What online systems are appropriate for Scouting online?

All systems put in place by Tonbridge District are fully GDPR compliant and have safe guards in place to protect both our young people and volunteers.

Here are some of the tools available to volunteers in Tonbridge District:

  • OSM (Online Scout Manager)
    • Communicating via OSM emails guarantees that member’s are BCc ed in emails (Blind Carbon Copy) this means that no email addresses are passed onto other members.
  • Enterprise license of Office365 which includes:
    • Scouting email with group domain name so recipients can be confident emails are from someone involved with local scouting.
    • Access to Microsoft Teams for online video conferences, webinars and instant messaging.
    • 1TB Onedrive and Sharepoint for secure storage and sharing of files and resources.
    • Microsoft Forms for secure collection of data but also quizzes and surveys.
    • Yammer for creating a secure and private social network

What platforms are suitable for young people?

There are many different platforms you can use to communicate with young people and families online. They’re all slightly different with different features, and most importantly, different levels of security and privacy.

Be sure to check the platform’s own websites, as many of them are changing their features and offers to help and support people because of the coronavirus.

Even if the platform is suitable, it is always worth checking the content you are planning to show before sharing it with the young people. Many websites rely upon user created content and getting around safeguarding checks are often seen as a challenge to malicious web users.

Age requirements

13

Most collaboration or online platforms have an age requirement, on most users need to be over 13 to make an account. Check the terms and conditions of services to make sure they are suitable for the Scouts in your group. If the young people in your group are under the age limit of the tool you want to use, then their parents or carers must set up the required accounts and remain nearby through the meeting. More advice on Digital platforms

What do I do if I have a concern?

You can raise any safeguarding concern no matter how trivial, with the District Commissioner.

or our national safeguarding team
safeguarding@scouts.org.uk 
or call us on 0345 300 1818