Live online events
Your organisation may use livestreaming or video conferencing to organise online activities or events. This might include:
- organising lessons or group activities for children using a video conferencing service
- livestreaming an assembly or other event via an online streaming platform.
Whatever the reason, it's important to consider the safeguarding implications.
What is livestreaming?
Livestreaming is a way to broadcast activities in real time over the internet. You can stream to large numbers of people, via an online platform, or choose to restrict your audience to a small, private group. Although viewers can engage with a livestream, the organiser, or ‘host’, has control over what viewers see and hear.
What is video conferencing?
Video conferencing enables live, online, interactive sessions. It is typically designed for smaller group sessions where everyone is invited to contribute. You need to be invited, or sent a link, in order to attend.
Safeguarding and child protection
You need to think about any potential risks associated with working online with children and ensure you've put appropriate safeguards in place.
Consider what measures need to be in place to help children feel safe and build mutual trust.
If you're worried about the welfare of a child you're working with you should follow your safeguarding and child protection procedures and share your concerns as soon as possible.
If a child is suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm, you can share information with appropriate agencies or professionals without the child's or their parent's consent
> Find out more about recognising and responding to abuse
> Find out more about safeguarding and child protection for tutors
To create a safe environment for children and young people when using livestreaming or video conferencing software, there are several things you should also consider.
Which platform will you use?
Always make sure the platform you are using is suitable for the children's age group, stage of development and ability. Set up an organisation account for any online platforms you use (don't use personal accounts). Make sure you double check the privacy settings.
> Read more about choosing a suitable online platform
> Learn more about setting up social media and online communities
Maintaining professional boundaries
Delivering a session online is different to working with children face-to-face. But adults should always maintain professional relationships with children and young people.
Remind staff of your code of conduct and make it clear how you expect them to behave. If you're holding an online lesson, activity or event, make sure staff are in a neutral area where nothing personal or inappropriate can be seen or heard in the background. You should also make sure that children are in a neutral area if they can be seen on camera.
> Look at our example code of conduct for adults working with children
You should make sure parents, carers and children understand the benefits and risks of livestreaming and online sessions and get written consent for children to be involved.
> Tailor our example consent form to your needs
Most digital streaming platforms and online conferencing software allows the host to record the event. The Recording live events tab sets out the things you need to consider if your video or audio recording will include children or young people.
When livestreaming, you should consider whether you need to restrict access to your online event. For example, you could make people register in advance to watch a livestream and issue a log in and password. Custom livestreaming platforms will also enable you to restrict access to your online event.
It's best practice to have at least two adults present when working with children and young people. This applies both online and in face-to-face settings.
The number of adults you need for online events will vary depending on the children's age and stage of development, and the activities being carried out.
For example, if you’re using 'breakout rooms' on an online platform, you need to consider how will these be supervised.
If you allow chat during a livestream you'll need to think about how you will moderate the comments, and familiarise yourself with how to report any offensive or abusive content.
> Read our recommended adult to child ratios for working with children
> Find out about moderating online communities
If you're organising an online activity or lesson via video conferencing software, think about whether you will ask children to turn their cameras on.
Some children might not feel comfortable turning their webcams on. They may be shy, unsure of the technology or have had a bad experience using video calls in the past.
Some children, parents and carers may be uncomfortable with others being able to see into their home. And some might want to hide something that is happening at home. Every child is different. Some children might be more confident about asking questions with their cameras off, and others might prefer it with the camera on.
If a child doesn't want to turn their camera on, consider whether you need to check in with them and their family separately to make sure everything is okay.
Make sure your organisation has child protection procedures for staff to follow if they are concerned about anything they have seen on a video call.
> Use our self-assessment tool to make sure you've got all the right safeguarding and child protection measures in place