Ethics Guidelines for Social Media

The purpose of these ethical guidelines is to provide a framework of conduct above and beyond the minimum standards provided by the code of ethics as set forth in the bylaws of the Professional Skaters Association.

The Professional Skaters Association and its membership aspire to the highest ideals of professionalism and acknowledge that the following guidelines should be followed in the performance of professional services provided to those with whom we have contact. Please note: this is a professional courtesy, not a legal position.

Social media is defined as any form of online publication or presence that allows end users to engage in multi-directional conversations in or around the content on the website. A large percentage of internet traffic is centered on the use of social media. Social media includes, but is not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linked In, Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, document sharing and email.

With the increasing use of social media in our society, the Professional Skaters Association determined it was an opportune time to set forth Social Media Guidelines for Figure Skating Professionals.

The spirit of social media is about leveraging the positive ways in which email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. can benefit us as professionals. Determining how to balance personal and professional information is important. In all aspects of social media, the individual should keep in mind that everyone does have the right to self-expression; however, such expressions can have possible consequences, both positive and negative.


Things to Be Considered

1. Communications with minors (e.g., notes, email and internet exchanges, telephone calls) must be for professional reasons only.

2. Coaches should inform and gain permission from the parents of their athletes for the various ways they plan to communicate with their skaters: personal cell phone, email, social networking tools, etc.

3. Coaches should not email athletes from a private or personal email account. All correspondence should occur via a work email account (or one identified as such).

4. Adolescents should be blind copied on group emails.

5. If utilizing a social networking tool to communicate with athletes, coaches should create a separate account for coaching interactions. (i.e., the account that is used for personal interaction should not be used for interactions with their adolescent athletes.)

6. When coaches are online posting comments, pictures, etc., remember that the readers can be clients, potential clients, past/current/future employers, friends, family, and in general, people who look to coaches as role models.

7. Coaches are expected to act responsibly and ethically; post meaningful and respectful comments. Coaches should refrain from discussing students, judges, officials, parents, fellow coaches, or publicly criticizing a rink, club, U.S. Figure Skating, ISI, or PSA policies or personnel. Coaches should not use commentary deemed defamatory, obscene, proprietary, inflammatory or libelous. Coaches should exercise caution with regards to exaggeration, colorful language, guesswork, obscenity, copyrighted materials, legal conclusions, and derogatory remarks or characterizations.

8. Coaches should know the media they are using, and know how to set privacy settings, etc. Coaches should post only what they want the world to see. Imagine their students, their parents, and a club or rink administrator visiting the page. It is not like posting something to a web site or blog and then realizing the story or photo should be taken down. On a social networking page, once something is posted, it may be available even after it is removed from the page.

9. Coaches are expected to own and repair any mistakes made online. Do this in a new post; do not just correct the old post.

10. Due to security risks, coaches should be cautious when installing the external applications that work with the social networking site. Examples of these sites are calendar programs and games.

11. Coaches should run updated malware protection to avoid infections of spyware and adware that social networking sites might place on a computer.

12. Coaches should set profile security and privacy settings. At a minimum, coaches should have all privacy settings set to “only friends” or “friends of friends.” Setting a privacy setting to “networks and friends” opens the content to a large group of unknown people. A coach’s privacy and the privacy of his or her family may be at risk. Unknown people may be looking at all that is on a page.

PSA Grievance Procedure Rule #15 – Retaliatory Action and Social Media

It is a violation of the PSA Code of Ethics for any person against whom discipline has been filed to take any action directly or through third parties against any other person who participated in any official capacity especially in the determination of discipline proceedings.


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