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Tips for Electronic Communications

Sexual misconduct and other types of inappropriate interaction between coaches and athletes require secretive communication, often achieved through electronic devices and digital channels (email, instant messaging, texting and social media). To reduce inappropriate communication, a sport club can promote transparency and ensure multiple adults are involved in all communications.

Tips to Consider

  1. Instruct coaches, staff and administrators to copy parents on all electronic and mobile communications to athletes in middle to late adolescence (14-18 years old); alternately, the parent can approve direct communications between the sport club and the athlete to respect the athlete's growing independence.
  2. To ease communications, set-up e-mail groups with parents and texting groups with athletes and make this group communication a norm for your organization. Include parents on all text messaging groups.
  3. Should any member of your sport organization inadvertently send an athlete an electronic or mobile communication without including the parent, acknowledge the oversight to the parents and forward the communication to the parents as soon as possible.
  4. Don't hesitate to speak with a parent if your coaches or staff receive any electronic and mobile communications from athletes or other participants that make them uncomfortable.

Courtesy of the United States Olympic Committee