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 are role models to our children. 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 activity
- Hypersexualized dancing by anyone (especially dancers under the age of 18)
- Depictions or references to drug/alcohol use or violence gang-related activity
- Hate speech
- Derogatory comments about others
- Negative comments about the studio or the dancers
*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.
STUDIO / COMPETITION / JUDGES/ CONVENTION SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
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. The following are additional standards, recommendations and suggestions for keeping youth students safe:
If posting or using images or videos of youth students on social media or on the Internet, it is important to:
- Protect identities by ensuring no identifying information (names, ages, locations, school names) is used.
- Review and approve all images/videos to ensure they are appropriate and do not contain sexualized images, movement, 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 or other events.
Some Studios have a “Social Media Creed” they all adhere to. Please see our Resources section at ypad4change.org for guidance in creating one.