Cyber Safety Protocol
As many of our Pyjama Angels begin communicating more often than usual with their Pyjama Child via electronic means, we thought this would be a good time to remind you all about our Policies and Procedures around this kind of contact.
Key things to consider when communicating with your child in this manner:
- When communicating by email, text, Facebook messenger etc the contact should always be through the Carer. If the child has their own email address/device etc. the Carer must be cc’d in/included in the address bar. It’s really important that all communication is transparent, this is to ensure that both the child and volunteer are protected.
- Do not “friend” a child on social media such as Facebook.
- If you are contacting the child with a video link such as Zoom or Facetime etc. this should occur in an open part of the child’s home. Just as for your face to face visit, this type of visit needs to be visible to the Carer.
Problems and issues currently arising:
Pyjama Angels have informed us that they are receiving multiple texts from children each day. “Good morning” texts and emails. “I love you/I miss you” texts and emails. The difficulty with this is that a Pyjama Angel may feel obliged to answer because they do not wish to disappoint the child or seem to be rebuffing them. The best solution to this is not to exchange numbers in the first place. The second solution is to inform the child that there are rules imposed by The Pyjama Foundation that stop you from communicating except at “work times” (ie learning times).
The reality is actually that The Department of Child Safety disapproves of personal contact directly with a child. We know that The Dept is happy that our Pyjama Angels are maintaining contact and learning during the lockdowns, but great care must be taken by everyone to be seen to be following protocol. As mentioned it is important that all communication is transparent, as undue contact that is not clearly learning related could be seen as ‘grooming a child for inappropriate contact’.
Appropriate amount of contact:
This needs to be discussed with the Carer and an agreement reached between Carer, child and Pyjama Angel and then adhered to. For example, if you are working with the child once per week, there should be no need to contact/email more than twice per week. However, we know that several of our Pyjama Angels are working with the child on their daily school activities. This is a great assistance to the Carer, but would not require any more than 2 emails/contacts per day. Of course if a child needs to contact you about a specific task that the school has set or that you have sent, it would be permissible to have more than one contact to help the child complete the task.