It’s nearly time to start up again and we are all looking forward to a season of fun, swimming and friends however, a timely warning has come in from Swim Ireland of some of the dangers our swimmers may face out there in the real world. Please read this carefully, then read it again. A copy of this email is posted on our Downloads page for easy access.
We were informed over the weekend by a club who had experience of a potentially concerning incident.
A young club member was rung on their mobile phone and the caller, who said they were from one of our regions, was calling to say the young person had been ‘chosen’ to represent their club in a gala, together with a (named) friend. The caller arranged to meet the young person at a specific time, date and place. The information the caller had included the young person’s name, phone number, club and the name of one of the young person’s friends. This was a hoax call, and we do not know the intention of the caller.
The situation described above was reported to the authorities and the matter is being investigated. However it is timely, with our athletes returning to their clubs to remind parents to check on their child’s social media status – just how much information do young people share on line with people they don’t know?
A few social media pointers for young people:
1. Only be friends with people you know
2. Settings should be set to private or friends only
3. Contact details do not need to be included – ‘talking’ with known friends over social media does not require your home address, email or mobile details to be posted online
4. Make sure you know what to do with calls from unknown numbers – talk to your parent/guardian.
5. Don’t disclose or share user names or passwords for your social media account with anyone other than a parent/guardian
6. Know who is responsible for passing on information about your club activities and always check with your parent/guardian if you are unsure – Swim Ireland doesn’t contact any child without a parent/guardian’s consent or knowledge.
Attached is a brief guide to some settings – these should help point young people and their parents/guardians in the right direction.
And for parents/guardians, a few conversation starters (appropriate to the age of the child):
• Do you really know everybody on your ‘friends’ list?
• Do you know how to use and set privacy and security settings? Can you show me how?
• Do you ever get messages from strangers? If so, how do you handle them?
• Do you know anyone who has made plans to meet someone offline that they’ve only ever spoken to online?
• Are people in your group of friends ever mean to each other, or to other people, online or on phones? If so, what do they say? Has anyone ever been mean to you? Would you tell me about it if they were?
• Has anyone at your school, or anyone else you know, taken naked or sexy photos and sent them to other people, or received photos like that?
If you have any queries please contact us.
Kate Hills, MSc.
National Children’s Officer
Mobile: +353 86 8560672 ”