Girl Guides Australia and State Girl Guide Organisations recognise the rapidly changing electronic age that we live in today and the opportunities and challenges that this provides for all members. Girl Guides Australia is committed to supporting the responsible use of social media by employees, members and volunteers. To facilitate this, Girl Guides Australia Social Media Policy is reproduced in full below.
This policy is to be provided to all employees, Adult and Youth Members, and volunteers of Girl Guides Australia, its member State Girl Guide Organisations and all other groups participating in or affiliated with Guiding in Australia.
This Policy is intended as directions to all employees, Adult and Youth Members, volunteers of Girl Guides Australia, its member State Girl Guide Organisations and all other groups participating in or affiliated with Guiding in Australia regarding the use of social networking platforms in the course of their employment or other interactions. It also provides instruction on what must not occur when using any social media whilst associated with Guiding in Australia. It clearly outlines that a breach of the policy may result in Girl Guides Australia or a State Girl Guide Organisation taking disciplinary action.
Australian laws governing the use of social media differ from State to State but all include laws concerning Defamation, Privacy, Child Protection, Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment, Copyright and Intellectual Property. There are legal consequences for individuals and Organisations that breach these laws. Social media should be used by individuals responsibly; display due consideration of age appropriateness and in accordance with the requirements of individual social media policies. Such policy requirements may change overtime and from platform to platform. As at May 2012, the minimum age to engage with Facebook is thirteen years (Facebook Policy, 2012).
Introduction to this Policy
Accessing social networking sites on Girl Guides Australia Systems
When you access Social Media using Guiding in Australia Systems a Code of Conduct will apply to any such access. In particular any use of social media on Guiding Systems may be subject to logging and monitoring. You should not have any expectations of privacy for any actions performed on social media sites using Guiding Systems.
This Policy applies to all employees, Adult and Youth Members, and volunteers of Girl Guides Australia, its member State Girl Guide Organisations and all other groups participating in or affiliated with Guiding in Australia when they participate in social networking sites whether during work hours or outside of work hours on their own computers or other electronic communication technologies.
This policy covers all current and future social media platforms. These platforms currently include, but are not limited to:
- Social networking sites: Facebook, MySpace, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Bebo and Friendster;
- Video and photo sharing websites: Flickr and YouTube;
- Micro-blogging sites: Twitter;
- Blogs: including corporate blogs and personal blogs or blogs hosted by traditional media publications;
- Forums and discussion boards; e.g. local discussion boards, Whirlpool, Yahoo! Groups or Google Groups;
- Online encyclopaedias: e.g. Wikipedia and Sidewiki; and
- Any other websites that allow individual users or companies to use simple publishing too, (together called social media).
Consequences of a breach of this Policy
Using social media in a way which breaches this Policy, the Code of Conduct, any other Girl Guides Australia policies or your obligations as an employee. Member or volunteer under the law may result in disciplinary action being taken.
Disciplinary action may include limitation or removal of access to Guiding Systems, or termination of an employee’s employment or termination of Girl Guide membership or affiliation.
Use of Social Media as part of your role
If you are required by Girl Guides Australia, a State Girl Guide Organisation or other group participating in or affiliated with Guiding in Australia to participate in social media sites as part of your role within Guiding you should ensure that you clearly understand what is required of you.
You should always exercise responsibility and judgement in any material you post on social media sites where you are participating as part of any Guiding role you may have undertaken. Essentially the rules that apply to you when you are interacting face to face with people as a representative of Guiding in Australia will apply to your actions on social media – including all Girl Guides Australia and State Girl Guide Organisation’s policies. Similarly the normal authorisation and approval process in relation to any content that you are posting will also apply.
Personal details (e.g. names, addresses or phone numbers) of other employees, other members (both adult and youth) or volunteers must not be published online.
You should be polite and respectful of the opinions of others at all times and refrain from posting any comments which harshly criticise or undermine posts made by others.
You should be careful of what you say about others and you should not post comments, which may be viewed as denigrating or insulting or harassing or discriminatory. Anything you would not responsibly say directly to a person should never be said or written about them using social media.
Remember the high expectations of behaviour for Guides which are embodied in the Promise and Law and Code of Conduct.
Personal use of Social Media
Use of social media
Girl Guides Australia and State Girl Guide Organisations understand that you use various social media for personal reasons on your own computers or other electronic communication technologies.
Generally what you do on your own time is your own business. However, information you provide, and statement you make, on social media sites may impact and have significant consequences for the Girl Guide community, Guiding in general, the workplace of Girl Guides Australia and State Girl Guide Organisations and their reputation. The material you post may be read by others in the Guiding community or the public at large. Once information is published online, it is essentially part of a permanent record, even if you ‘remove/delete’ it later or attempt to make it anonymous.
When using any social media you are responsible for your words and actions. It is your responsibility to ensure that your posts are appropriate. Use your judgement and common sense, and if there is any doubt, do not post.
When using any social media you must not:
- post images of children on social networking sites – unless you have the written authorisation of the child’s parent or legal guardian for that specific image;
- use the logo of Girl Guides Australia or a State Girl Guide Organisation; or create Girl Guides Australia or a State Girl Guide Organisation branded account which could be interpreted as representing Girl Guides Australia or a State Girl Guide Organisation unless you are authorised to do so in writing;
- contribute anything which would bring you, another Member, Girl Guides Australia, a State Girl Guide Organisation, or other group participating in or affiliated with Guiding in Australia into disrepute – for example an offensive blog or photo;
- engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the workplace or in a Girl Guiding context – for example:
- making any adverse, offensive or derogatory statement or engaging in unlawful discrimination, harassment or bullying directed at or impacting other employees, Members, volunteers, children or parents, or the Board or Management of Girl Guides Australia, State Girl Guide Organisations and other groups participating in or affiliated with Guiding in Australia;
- disclose any confidential information about Girl Guides Australia, a State Girl Guide Organisation or their group participating in or affiliated with Guiding in Australia including information about other employees, Members, volunteers, children, parents or the Board or Management of the Organisation.
The above requirements apply regardless of whether you have restricted the access to your personal site to selected persons only.
You should also avoid identifying (by name, address or contact details) or discussing or posting images that include co-workers. Members or volunteers unless you have obtained their written permission first. Non-identifying photos may be acceptable but if in doubt seek the individual’s permission.
Expressing your personal views
It can be difficult to draw a line between your personal and professional life when using social media. Even when you are talking as an individual, people may perceive you to be talking on behalf of Girl Guides Australia, a State Girl Guide Organisation, or other group participating in or affiliated with Guiding in Australia. By identifying yourself as an employee, Member or volunteer, you are creating perceptions about your expertise and about the body within Guiding to whom you are associated. Therefore you need to be careful that all content associated with you and your obligations as an employee or Member or volunteer does not conflict with the polices of Girl Guides Australia, State Girl Guide Organisations or other groups participating in or affiliated with Guiding in Australia.
Just because conduct is outside work or you have not clearly identified yourself a Guiding employee, Member or volunteer; it may nonetheless be in breach of your obligations to Girl Guides Australia, a State Girl Guide Organisation or another group participating in or affiliated with Guiding in Australia whether using social media or otherwise. You should exercise caution and common sense on that basis.
This policy is not designed to infringe upon your personal interaction or online conversations where you are clearly speaking as an individual with no reference to Guiding or your position as a Guiding employee, Member or volunteer, provided you are otherwise complying with the policies of Girl Guides Australia, the State Girl Guide Organisations and other groups participating in or affiliated with Guiding in Australia.
Please bear in mind that information you provide, and statements you make, on social media could have significant consequences for you personally, for example:
- making statements about an individual may constitute defamation (in which case you may be personally liable under applicable legislation to the person about whom you make the statement);
- making statements may constitute unlawful discrimination, harassment or bullying (in which case you may be personally liable under applicable legislation);
- making statements about Girl Guides Australia, a State Girl Guide Organisation or another group participating in or affiliated with Guiding in Australia, its business, parents or youth Members, may constitute a breach of your obligation not to disclose confidential information and your obligation not to make public statements about or on the Organisation’s behalf without express authority; and
- using other persons’ material, text, images, photographs, music, logos and trademarks may breach copyright laws.
Please take care.
The terms and prescribed conduct described in the Policy are not intended to be exhaustive, nor do they anticipate every possible use of social media. You are encouraged to act with caution and to take into account the underlying principles of the Policy.
In cases where public media such as newspapers, radio or television may become involved, you should refer matters to either your State Commissioner or State Office; or Senior Manager of Girl Guides Australia, Chief Commissioner or Assistant Chief Commissioner.
If any Members reads anything on the internet that may harm the reputation of Guiding in Australia please contact your State Commissioner or State Office Senior Executive; or Senior Manager of Girl Guides Australia, Chief Commissioner or Assistant Chief Commissioner immediately.
If you feel unsure about what to do in particular circumstances, you should contact your State Executive Officer, State Office, State Commissioner or Senior Manager of Girl Guides Australia.
This Policy is a direction
This Policy sets out the rules which must be complied with when using social media. This Policy is direction to you by Girl Guides Australia and the State Girl Guide Organisations and applies at both State and National level, to all employees, adults and youth, Members and volunteers. You must comply with this Policy. If you do not comply with this Policy, Girl Guides Australia or the State Girl Guide Organisation may take disciplinary action, up to and including termination of your employment, membership or engagement.
This Policy is to be reviewed annually by the Girl Guides Australia Policy and Procedures Committee. The Committee will recommend updates, or provide an indication that the document does not require updated at the first Girl Guides Australia Board meeting of each calendar year.
Last Modified: 09/10/19 at 12:41 PM