Section 9: Children and Young People as Contributors
Safeguarding the Welfare of Under-18s
We should apply the principles of the BBC Child Protection Policy in our dealings with children and young people under 18. Their welfare is our paramount consideration. This means their interests and safety must take priority over any editorial requirement.
We must take care that the information we disclose about children and young people does not put them at any risk. How they are identified in our content requires careful consideration and will vary according to context. Advice is available from Editorial Policy. If it has been established that we should not disclose a child or young person's location, particular care should be taken not to inadvertently do so by a 'jigsaw effect', i.e. revealing several pieces of information in words or images that can be pieced together to readily identify where the child may be found. (Note that, in some circumstances, avoiding the 'jigsaw effect' may require taking account of information already in the public domain.)
All children and young people, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial or ethnic origin, religious belief and sexual identity have a right to protection from harm or abuse. In the course of our work if we suspect a child or young person may be at risk, or we are alerted by them to a child welfare issue (including allegations against BBC staff) the situation must be referred promptly to the divisional manager with responsibility for the Child Protection Policy.
The online protection of children and young people is a shared responsibility between the BBC, parent/guardian and the child or young person. We aim to ensure that children and young people taking advantage of our changing technologies understand the possible risks they face and how to minimise them. When online content is likely to appeal to a high proportion of children or young people, we should offer links to relevant advice on bbc.co.uk, such as advice on safe surfing. Safety information should be prominent, easily accessible and clear.
Any incident of suspected "grooming" online must be referred promptly to the CBBC Interactive Executive Management Team (or, for commercial services, to the relevant editorial leader) who will report it to the appropriate authorities.
Spaces designed to appeal to children and young people are usually pre-moderated. Any proposal to use any other form of moderation for children and young people will need to be able to demonstrate that it offers a high level of child protection and must be referred to Editorial Policy.
Spaces which publish pictures or video from members of the public are usually pre-moderated. Any proposal to use any other form of moderation must be referred to Editorial Policy.
We should not link to unmoderated chat rooms for an audience of children or young people.
Moderators of sites designed for children and young people, and sites which are aimed at or likely to attract them, should have appropriate police checks (as laid out by the Independent Safeguarding Authority) and be recruited, trained and supervised as appropriate for working on such sites. People who are editorially responsible for moderators and hosts will need to assess the risk to children and young people based on:
- the opportunity for virtual contact the moderators and hosts have with children and young people
- how far the moderators and hosts are in a position of trust and authority in relation to the users
- the access the moderators and hosts have to personal information about users.
Until a reliable method of digital identification is available, private online spaces where strangers can routinely meet and exchange personal information are not likely to be suitable for children and young people. This is because private spaces cannot be monitored to safeguard such users. Any proposal to the contrary must be referred to Director Future Media and Technology and Editorial Policy.
We should not request more personal information from children and young people than is necessary. We must collect, store and dispose of their personal details securely and in accordance with the guidelines issued by Information Policy and Compliance.
Any proposal to reveal a child or young person's personal information to a third party without consent must be referred to a senior editorial figure, or for independents to the commissioning editor, who may consult Editorial Policy and Information Policy and Compliance.