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Photos, video, social media and fundraising

For schools and community organisations, having policies in place for photos, videos and fundraising can help everyone stay safe.

We will shortly be releasing new guidance and a suite of resources to support schools in creating safe online environments, including using social media in schools. Subscribe to eSafety News to be notified when it is released.

See also: Sporting organisations and community groups — creating a culture of online safety

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 or carers of a child or young person before any photos or videos 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 images to enable parents to have a clear understanding of what they are consenting to. For example, include a description of 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, 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 images.

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 Once published, we may not be able to retrieve or delete images if consent is withdrawn after publishing”.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 should 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 pageremove potentially defamatory material as soon as possible

Information and safety guides for the most popular social media sites and apps can be found in our eSafety Guide.

Storing photos and videos taken by teachers or coaches

Ideally organisations and schools should have protocols for storing videos and photos. These protocols should:

  • require secure passcodes/passwords for all devices to stop unauthorised access
  • cover use of devices owned by the organisation and/or school to take photos and videos
  • require secure storage of photos and videos (for example, secure school server) and their deletion from the devices within a reasonable time

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

Photos and videos on social media sites may easily be 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.

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)
  • options for using pseudonyms

Other online safety concerns may include:

  • Is a child’s personal information publicly displayed, such as 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?