Well, it’s a discussion that appears almost weekly, and it’s one myth that most definitely needs challenging.
“You can’t take photos of young people.”
“Photos of Scouts can’t be posted online!”
“You can’t publish an individual photo of a young person.”
“P.O.R. says no photos”
They are all comments that I have seen thrown about as FACT within The Scout Association by some members.
So… Why can’t I take a photo of a young person enjoying their time in Scouting, doing something challenging and adventurous and then publish the photo on our website, on the Group’s Facebook Page and Twitter accounts?
“POR says so.”
“It’s due to Safeguarding.”
In the UK you are legally allowed to take photos of anyone in public spaces (Unless you are a terrorist and you are taking photos that could threaten National Security), Safeguarding have never banned all photos from being taken and POR has no rules banning photography (the Scout Photography Badge would be quite boring if it was all theory work!).
Photos are great for showing the community what you are up to, for Scouts to look back on a week of fun and adventure, for parents to see how much enjoyment their child was having completing that new challenge and they are also great for publicity.
There are some things you can do to make sure you keep your young people safe; obviously publishing their full name, age, date of birth and their home address next to their photo could cause a safeguarding issue, but let’s be realistic here… who would provide all this data when publishing a photo? anyone?
If you are needing to name young people in photos (most local newspapers won’t publish a photo without full names) you don’t need to provide their home address or their date of birth.
We don’t publish full names alongside photos on our Group website, and the group state that we take photos for use in the media, on our websites and we can not be responsible for anyone taking a photo or video of our members. Anyone saying they can stop the general public from taking a photo of their young people really do need to take a look at the law.
There are times when you maybe asked not to take or publish photos of young people, for example if a young person is under a care order and there is a possibility that your photo could put the young person in danger. Common sense obviously applies in this case.
Scouting is all about the young people, their development, their fun, their adventures, their friendships and their memories. Lets record their time in Scouting, let them look back at how much fun they had, let them share the photo of them trying out rock climbing for the first time, let them post them to social networks.
We can embrace social media and the internet, it’s not all bad, and most of all, lets remember, a photo of a fully dressed Scout undertaking a scouting adventure is really not a safeguarding issue!