Checklist for Youth Work Online session

This document offers a simple checklist of things you consider before, during and after an online session. It should be used alongside your organisation’s own policies and procedures e.g. Digital Policy and Risk Assessments.

Planning for your session: What do I need to facilitate?

  • Decide which platform is best for your delivery. It needs to be fit for purpose so test it out before the day. This might be an approved, organisational account. Sometimes, with a paid account you can have more control over features and even disable them to make it safer for young people.
  • Complete a risk assessment at least two weeks before the planned activity to be agreed and signed off by your line manager and not advertise the session link and password.
  • Consider how many facilitators you need. In order to ensure you have enough facilitators you might want to think about ratios (or how many youth workers will make for the most meaningful experience), your use of breakout rooms, how interactive the session is, as well as someone on standby in case you lose connectivity or there is a safeguarding incident. Generally a minimum of two mitigates against most risks.
  • Ensure there is a way for young people to contact you, or someone, whilst the session is taking place should they be feeling distressed or need to reach out for support. This can be shared before the session and at the start.
  • Plan your session, including the overall length. You will lose young people if the session is too long or does not have regular breaks. Think about the age range of callers, whether it’s hybrid or fully remote and the subject content you want to cover. For young people, try to make calls, or sessions, a maximum of 45 minutes. Consider breaks and be creative with the most engaging ways to deliver online.
  • Decide if you are going to record the session. Do you have a specific, explicit and legitimate reason for recording? Recording should not be a default position especially if you would not have recorded a face to face session. Do not consider recording as a replacement for appropriate safeguarding and ensure you refer to relevant GDPR guidance if you are choosing to record a session, or save a transcript.
  • Ensure that age ranges and group numbers of young people are appropriate for the online session. You might want to think about delivering two separate sessions if you have a wide age range or a large number of young people.
  • Ensure you have advised someone that you are delivering online. This could be your line manager or colleagues. The Designated Safeguarding Lead should be aware as well, in case you need to escalate a concern. You may have an out of hours policy that will guide you further on who to contact.

What do I need from young people?

  • Consent forms. Treat the event like you would a face-to-face one. This means signing up with parental and media consent if aged 17 or under (dependent on project). Parents have legal parental responsibility for their children up to the age of 18 so involving parents wherever possible is good practice.
  • Ensure you have sent through any online guidance to young people who are attending. This should help them access the webinar/call, organise anything they need to prepare for beforehand e.g. confidential space and support them in knowing what is expected of them and others in the digital environment. This might include a code of conduct.
  • Ask young people if they have any additional needs. To ensure the space is as inclusive as possible, ask if young people have any specific requirements e.g. subtitles enabled. Being online does not mean that it’s accessible, with a large number of young people not having access to the Internet or a stable connection.
  • Ensure young people can access the platform you’re using. Sometimes they have to create an account, which means being over 13, or download software that they might not have permission for. Make sure they’ve had plenty of time to create an account, or create a solution.

Just before logging on

  • If you have an ID that would be visible on the video, please wear this.
  • Close other browsers or other documents so that if you end up screen sharing only the appropriate files are up and you are not going to screen share any confidential or inappropriate information. This includes turning off notifications and pop ups.
  • Make sure that your camera is showing a neutral space for the video call/webinar. The camera should not be looking into youth workers homes. Use your organisation branded background. Alternatively, you can blur your background.
  • Have your register of those that have signed up and / or sent their consent forms through. This way you know who to expect so that you can admit people to the call, especially if they join from a waiting room. You may be able to message them in the waiting room if the login name does not match with their registered name.

During the online session

  • Only allow registered participants onto the call. Lock the call once all participants are in. This will also give confidence to the other participants that only screened and approved users are in.
  • Use professional, appropriate language on calls, just like you would in a face-to-face session.
  • Protect yourself and others – do not give out any personal details – names, addresses, telephone numbers or details of family members.
  • Establish the etiquette and online etiquette e.g. cameras on / off, use of phones etc, for the session and co-produce your agreement (code of conduct) for the session.
  • During, or as you draw the session to a close, signpost young people to further useful information, including those who mght have have disclosed topics such as e.g. mental illness.
  • If recording the session ensure you still have consent. If not, be sure to have made agreements around individual screen recording or taking screenshots.

Post session

  • If you had consent to record or save the session, ensure content is saved in an appropriately secure place.
  • Document any safeguarding issues, or signposting, appropriately and report to the Designated Safeguarding Lead in line with your organisational policies and procedures.
  • Depending on your project, follow up with the project partner or client on how the online session went and highlight anything that they should know about.
  • Add relevant data into your evaluation document if you need to record engagement.

‘Our Agreement’ for Online Delivery

Below is an example agreement you can use when working with young people, which includes some specifics about online delivery. Sometimes this is called a code of conduct. You can read this alongside our checklist for youth work online.

Where possible it should be co-produced with young people at the start of any session. This will help you tailor it to the young people you are working with e.g. age appropriate language, specific experiences etc. This will help you best meet the needs of each group of young people.

Together we, both youth workers and young people, agree to:

  • Get involved and encourage others to do the same. We will engage with the sessions as much as possible and be encouraging of others to take part too.
  • Respect each other and listen. We will be kind, respectful, supportive and non-judgemental of everyone. We will create a space for people to be heard and wait until it’s our turn to speak. This might mean muting our mics until speaking too.
  • Think about our language, clothing, and space. We will make sure we are appropriately dressed, decide whether to blur our background and think about the words we use.
  • Keep the session invite only. We want to know who is attending and this will mean having a completed participation or consent forms. Also, at the start of any session (at least) everyone will turn their cameras on to make sure the right people are here. The session link will not be shared with anyone else.
  • Fun and engaging! This space is for you, we hope you enjoy being here! We will be on time, stick to planned breaks and finish on time too. If things have to change, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.
  • Work together and be flexible with our digital etiquette. We will adapt the session to best our needs wherever possible e.g., not requiring cameras the whole time and / or integrating the chat function to our session. We’ll talk about what’s working and not working.
  • Being safe, safeguarding and confidentiality. If you are worried about something or someone, please reach out to someone as soon as you can. If we, as the youth workers, are worried about you (sometimes called a safeguarding concern) we will tell you and only share with people who need to know. We will always do our best to let you know before we have that conversation, and where possible you can even choose to be there for it.
  • What else is important to get the best from our online session today?
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