SOCIAL MEDIA EXPOSURE AND PRESENCE
YPAD recognizes the powerful influence of social media on people of all ages. It can be a wonderful platform to share artistry and connection regardless of geographic location. However, our research indicates that children and teens will spend more time with their dance educators online than they will in person. For this reason, YPAD has developed the following recommendations to help studios, instructors and competition/convention managers navigate this complicated issue. We realize this these recommendations do place the burden on the dance leaders. The observation and research of their faculty and visiting instructors is an extra step to ensure that we are accountable for what our students are exposed to and, more importantly, what they likely will start emulating and striving for. Dance educators and adjudicators are role models to our children. Who you hire, even as a guest, and how they behave in person and online, does reflect on your brand. That is a beautiful reality when embraced and used positively!
- DANCE PROFESSIONAL/JUDGE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
If a dance professional (including instructors, other staff, independent contractors, choreographers, competition judges and master class teachers) has the following content on their page, they should agree not to “friend,” “follow,” be “followed” by your students. In addition, they should agree to never post, share or disseminate any public social media content (whether their own or by others) that includes:
- Sexually suggestive photos, videos, statements or activity of yourself or others
- Hypersexualized dancing by anyone, especially dancers under the age of 18
- Posts/Videos that glorify drug/alcohol use, violence or gang-related activity, cursing
- Use of photos or images without permission of the individual or entity
- Derogatory comments about others (even if you think they deserve it)
- Negative comments about your studio/organization, other studios/organizations, dances or people who come in contact through dance related events
- Hate speech
- Body shaming of themselves or others, including celebrities
- Using photos or videos of youth dancers that break the artistic standards for costume, poses, facials, music, movement and concepts. Remember perception is reality for people sifting through your photos and post choices, including your website. Try to throw the net as wide as possible regarding possible scrutiny and erring on the side of caution
We realize that some dance educators may want to post social media content that does not meet the standards, recommendations and suggestions above. We also realize young dancers may try to connect these dance educators them via social media. We feel it’s possible to respect these artistic expressions while at the same time protecting kids. We ask that if dance educators wish to post non-child-friendly content that they agree to use privacy settings on their primary social media accounts, and create separate accounts on which to connect with youth students in a role model capacity.
To accomplish this, if faculty, staff, guest artists, volunteers or adjudicators want to post social media content that does not meet the standards above, they will:
- Use privacy settings on their primary social media accounts to ensure youth dancers do not have access to this content.
- Create separate accounts on which to connect with youth students in a role model capacity if there is the desire to connect with youth.
- STUDIOS / COMPETITIONS /CONVENTIONS AND DANCE RELATED ORGANIZATIONS SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE AND WEBSITES
Social media presents additional concerns related to the material that studios, studio owners, conventions and competitions may be posting on their own social media accounts. Your online presence is strongly linked to your brand and may be the first interaction and impression a potential client has with you. The following are additional standards, recommendations and suggestions for keeping youth students and your brand safe:
If posting or using images or videos of youth participants on social media, websites or on the Internet, it is important to:
- Protect identities by ensuring no identifying information is used (including without limitation to all names, ages, locations, school names. *Thoughtful exceptions can be made)
- Review and approve all images/videos to ensure they are appropriate and do not contain sexualized images, movement, costumes/attire, or otherwise unsafe content, etc.
- Establish a clear, well-communicated process for registering and investigating complaints regarding images or videos of the studio’s students.
- Establish a clear, well-communicated policy regarding if/when parents, spectators and others can photograph and/or videotape classes, performances, recital or other events.
- Consider ensuring the photos, videos and language in your posts and marketing materials reflect the YPAD Standards for artistic choices. Put yourself in the position of the viewer who may not have all the information you do when viewing a costume, facial expression, pose, performance piece, musical choice, knowing the dancer, etc. Be thoughtful regarding perception and strive to be as above scrutiny as possible.
To be preventative and set a standard of integrity in person and online, we highly recommend creating a “Social Media Creed”. Please see the YPAD Social Media Creed at ypad4change.org/smcreed for guidance in creating one.