Social Media Policy

In the fall of 2012 the SHA Board of Directors put in place a Social Media and Networking Policy. The purpose of this policy is to educate the SHA Community on the risks of social media and to ensure all Teams and Association personnel are aware that conduct deemed to be inappropriate may be subject to disciplinary action by the Team, the Minor Hockey Association, League and/or the SHA.

Further to this, the SHA Board of Directors recently approved Enforcement Guidelines for the Social Media and Networking Policy (See attached). The Enforcement Guidelines are intended to assist Minor Hockey Associations and Leagues as they assess Social Media Violations.

Please note that the SHA would like to receive written notification of all disciplinary action taken by Minor Hockey Associations and Leagues regarding Social Media Violations. This will assist the SHA in the on-going development of Enforcement Guidelines as this aspect of our culture and society evolves.

Because social media violations may vary in terms of their seriousness and effect, care must be taken to consider sanctions that are appropriate in each situation that presents itself. That is not to say that these types of violations are minor, but rather, some may be more serious than others. This document is intended to assist Minor Hockey Associations as they assess social media violations.

Factors that can be considered when dealing with social media violations include:

  • The intent of the violator
  • Whether harm, physical or otherwise, resulted from the violation
  • The circumstances of the violation
  • The effect the violation had upon its recipient, the recipient’s family, the team, the Association, or the community
  • Any previous social media violation history

Possible disciplinary measures therefore depend on a number of factors. Please consider the following suggested responses for various conducts:

  • Implicit or implied threats of death or serious bodily harm: indefinite suspension, referral to SHA Division Chairperson for investigation and punishment (also refer to police) - Encouraging someone to do themselves serious harm: indefinite suspension, referral to SHA Division Chairperson for investigation
  • Posting of pictures of a threatening nature: indefinite suspension, referral to SHA Division Chairperson for investigation and punishment (also refer to police) - Slurs against someone’s race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation: lengthy suspension - Slurs against another or their family: warning or short suspension - Posting comments and/or pictures of self of an implied sexual nature: short suspension - Posting comments and/or pictures of someone else of an implied sexual nature: indefinite suspension, referral to SHA Division Chairperson for investigation and punishment (also may refer to police) - Gossip - Posting or sending cruel gossip to damage a person’s reputation and relationships with friends, family, and acquaintances: warning or short suspension
  • Breaking into someone’s e-mail or other online account and sending messages that will cause embarrassment or damage to the person’s reputation and affect his or her relationship with others: indefinite suspension, referral to SHA Division Chairperson for investigation and punishment (also refer to police)
  • Posting or sending unwanted or intimidating messages: suspension
  • Tricking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information, which is then shared online: short suspension
  • Negative or derogatory comments about Team, etc.: warning or short suspension

1. INTRODUCTION

For the purpose of this Social Media and Networking Policy, the policy will encompass public communications through such internet mediums and websites as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare and any other social media network that allows users to communicate online as well as other forms of electronic communication, but not limited to, methods such as ‘BBM’ or ‘texting’.

The policy will be applicable to all members of the SHA Community, including Directors, Teams, SHA members and staff, on-ice and off-ice officials, billets, players, players’ family members and supporters. The SHA recognizes and appreciates the value of social media and the importance of social networking to all of its stakeholders. The SHA also respects the right of all Teams and Association personnel to express their views publicly. At the same time we must be aware of the dangers social media and networking can present.

The purpose of this policy is to educate the SHA Community on the risks of social media and to ensure all Teams and Association personnel are aware that conduct deemed to be inappropriate may be subject to disciplinary action by the Team, the Minor Hockey Association, League and/or the SHA.

2. SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES

  • The SHA holds the entire SHA Community who participates in social media and networking to the same standards as it does for all other forms of media including radio, television and print.
  • Comments or remarks of an inappropriate nature which are detrimental to a Team, the Association or an individual will not be tolerated and will be subject to disciplinary action.
  • It should be recognized that social media and comments such as ‘texting’are on the record and can beinstantly published and available to the public and media. Everyone including Association and/or Team personnel, players, corporate partners and the media can review social media communications. You should conduct yourself in an appropriate and professional manner at all times.
  • Refrain from divulging confidential information of a personal or team related nature. Avoid revealing business or game strategy that could provide another team or individual a competitive advantage. Furthermore, do not discuss injury information about any player. Only divulge information that is considered public.
  • Use your best judgment at all times – pause before posting or sending. Once your comments are posted or sent they cannot be retracted. Ultimately, you are solely responsible for your comments.
  • If requested to participate in an online network, as a direct result of your affiliation with or participation in the SHA, the SHA recommends that you request approval from the Team or the Association.
  • Players or hockey operations staff are not permitted to participate in social media or networking two (2) hours prior to the start of a SHA game and at least one (1) hour following the completion of a SHA game.

3. SOCIAL MEDIA VIOLATIONS

The following are examples of conduct through social media and networking mediums that are considered violations of the SHA Social Media and Networking Policy and may be subject to disciplinary action by the Team, Minor Hockey Association, League and/or SHA.

  • Any statement deemed to be publicly critical of Association officials or detrimental to the welfare of a member Team, the Association or an individual.
  • Divulging confidential information that may include, but is not limited to the following:
    • player injuries;
    • trades or other player movement;
    • game strategies; or
    • any other matter of a sensitive nature to a member Team, the Association or an individual.
  • Negative or derogatory comments about any of the Team, Minor Hockey Association, League and/or SHA staff, programs, stakeholders, players or any member of a SHA Team.
  • Any form of bullying, harassment, intimidation or threats against players or officials.
  • Photographs, video or comments promoting negative influences or criminal behavior, including but not limited to:
    • drug use,
    • alcohol abuse,
    • public intoxication,
    • hazing
    • sexual exploitation, etc.
  • Online activity that contradicts the current policies of the SHA or any of its member Associations.
  • Inappropriate, derogatory, racist, or sexist comments of any kind, in keeping with the SHA policies and regulations on these matters.
  • Online activity that is meant to alarm other individuals or to misrepresent fact or truth.

4. DISCIPLINE

The Team, Minor Hockey Association, League and/or the SHA will investigate reported violation(s) of this policy in the manner set out in the SHA Handbook for other types of violations. If the investigation determines that a violation has occurred, the Team, Minor Hockey Association, League and/or the SHA Chairperson of the Division involved will impose an appropriate suspension. Any appeal of the suspension will be dealt with as set out in a Minor Hockey Association, League and/or SHA Handbook for other types of suspensions.

5. SUMMARY

When using social media and networking mediums, the SHA community should assume at all times they are representing the SHA and/or its member Associations or Teams. All members of the SHA community should remember to use the same discretion with texting, etc., social media and networking as they do with other traditional forms of media.

Should the identity or image of any member of the SHA community be used in social media and networking without the Individual, Team or Association authorization, this is considered to be identity theft. Please notify your SHA Team Management or the SHA Office immediately. Any use of a player or team member’s image or likeness without the written consent of the SHA is strictly prohibited.

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