Parents and young people generally welcome opportunities to celebrate or publicize their involvement and achievements when taking part in sport by photographing children at events. Sports organizations may also want to promote their activities to encourage participation. For these reasons, Canada Soccer does not advocate the banning of photography or the use of images and videos of children. This guidance will help organizations ensure they are taking all necessary steps to protect children and young people from the inappropriate use of their images in resources and media publications, on the internet and elsewhere.
What are the risks?
Children may be identified, contacted or groomed Including the child’s personal information (full name, address) alongside their image can make them identifiable and therefore vulnerable to individuals looking to locate, contact or ‘groom’ children for abuse. Even if personal details are kept confidential, other details identifying the sports organization, school or club, or their favourite sportsperson or team, can also be used to groom the child. There’s increased risk of identification of, and contact with, a child: by someone in circumstances where there are legal restrictions — such as if the child is in local-authority care or placed with an adoptive family where it’s potentially dangerous to reveal the child’s whereabouts to an estranged parent due to previous concerns about domestic violence
Someone might make inappropriate or illegal images of children
Photo or video content may itself be inappropriate, or images may be used inappropriately or out of context. Some individuals deliberately target sports activities and set out to take inappropriate photos in ways that are potentially illegal and harmful, such as: images of children changing photos taken in washrooms images that appear ambiguous can be used inappropriately and out of context by others (for example, images from some angles of athletes participating in sport) images can easily be copied and edited, perhaps to create child-abuse images shared privately online can be re-shared, possibly entering the public domain on websites or social media
Using images of young people for publication, promotion or coaching
Organizations benefit from using images of young participants to promote and celebrate activities, events and competitions. Some coaches also find it helpful to use photographs or videos as a tool to support a young athlete’s skill development; however, the use of photos and videos on websites and social media, and in posters, the press or other publications, can pose direct and indirect risks to children and young people if not managed correctly.
Organizations wishing to use or permit the use of images of children involved in their activities must have a policy in place to safeguard them. They also need to consider whether parental permission for photography should be sought and take storage and privacy considerations and additional concerns about young athletes into account. Minimizing the risks think carefully before using any images showing children and young people on your website, social media or other publications choose images that present the activity in a positive light, and promote the best aspects of the sport and organization don’t supply full names of children along with the images, unless: it’s considered necessary — such as for elite young athletes it’s in the child’s best interests the child and parent have consented only use images of children in suitable dress or kit, including recommended safety wear such as shin pads avoid images and camera angles that may be more prone to misinterpretation or misuse than others consider using models or illustrations if you are promoting an activity, rather than the children who are actually involved in it provide coaches who use images of athletes as part of their training with clear guidelines by which they are required to comply, including: use of the images, consents, and retention, safe storage and confidentiality.
Using official or professional photographers
Organizations should establish and clarify many of these points as part of the commissioning or contracting process: inform parents and children that a photographer will be in attendance ensure parents and children consent to both the taking and publication of films or photos check the photographer’s identity, the validity of their role, and the purpose and use of the images to be taken issue the photographer identification, which must be worn at all times provide the photographer with a clear brief about what is considered appropriate in terms of image content and their behaviour clarify areas where all photography is prohibited (washrooms, changing areas, first aid areas, etc.) inform the photographer about how to identify — and avoid taking images of — children without the required parental consent for photography don’t allow unsupervised access to children or one- to-one photo sessions at events don’t allow photo sessions away from the event — for instance, at a young person’s home, clarify issues about ownership of and access to all images, and for how long they’ll be retained and/or used.
Responding to concerns
All staff, volunteers, children, and parents should be informed that if they have any concerns regarding inappropriate or intrusive photography (in terms of the way, by whom, or where photography is being undertaken), these should be reported to the event organizer or another official. There must be a safeguarding procedure in place to ensure that reported concerns are dealt with in the same way as any other child-protection issue. If there are concerns or suspicions about potentially criminal behaviour this should include referral to the police.
When to seek parental permission Close-up images
Seek parents’ consent to take and use images of individual or smaller groups of participants in which their child would easily be recognisable Let parents know how, where, and in what context an image may be used — for example, on a public website, through social media, or in a printed resource. Make parents aware of your policy on using children’s images, and of the way these represent the organization or activity complete a parental consent form for use of images of children, possibly as part of the process for registering and consenting the child’s participation in the activity or event.
General images of events
At many events, organizers will wish to take wide-angle, more general images of the event, the site, opening and closing ceremonies, etc. It’s usually not reasonable, practical or proportionate to secure consent for every participating child in order to take such images, or to preclude such photography on the basis of the concerns of a small number of parents. In these circumstances, organizers should make clear to all participants and parents that these kinds of images will be taken, and for what purposes.
What to do when parental consent is not given
Organizers have a responsibility to put in place arrangements to ensure that any official or professional photographers can identify (or be informed about) which children should not be subject to close-up photography. This could involve providing some type of recognizable badge, sticker or wrist band, and/or a system for photographers to check with the activity organizer and/or coach or team personnel to ensure it is clear which groups or individuals should not feature in images.
Secure storage of images
Images or video recordings of children must be kept securely: hard copies of images should be kept in a locked drawer electronic images should be in a protected folder with restricted access images should not be stored on unencrypted portable equipment such as laptops, memory sticks or mobile phones Avoid using any personal equipment to take photos and recordings of children — use only cameras or devices belonging to your organization. If you’re storing and using photographs to identify children and adults for official purposes — such as identity cards — ensure you comply with the legal requirements for handling personal information.
Photography by parents and spectators at events
Most spectators — especially competitors’ family and friends — will want to take photos or videos at sports events. Organizations responsible for sports and activity events must have a photography policy and procedures in place to safeguard children. As part of their planning process, they’ll need to factor in any additional facility or venue policies, as well as determine what stance to take on when photography by the public is allowed. Although parental consent is not required for photography by the public, event organizers should make the photography policy clear to all participants and parents ahead of the event.
Minimizing the risks
Decide on a spectator photography policy during the planning stages of the event: a total ban on any photography registration of individuals who intend to take photos no overall public photography ban for the event the event venue is a public area, so no ban is possible clarify and promote the photography rules for the event to all staff, volunteers, spectators, parents, and young participants in these rules, include areas where photography is banned warn parents and spectators that there can be negative consequences to sharing images linked to information about their own or other people’s children on social media (Facebook, Twitter) — and care should be taken about ‘tagging’ establish procedures to respond to and manage any concerns arising, including clear reporting structures and a system to contact police when necessary