A dilemma that has cropped up for many children and young people (CYP) therapists this year has been around the recording of online sessions. This has presented in a variety of ways. For some their organisation or platform automatically records online work to a drive or cloud within the organisation. For some it is a requirement of their organisation that online work with CYP must be recorded.

Before lockdown many local authorities had very strict rules in place around staff contacting children online and for many it was not allowed. For myself as a member of school staff it was very clearly stated that I should not contact CYP electronically.

However the landscape changed and with children at home, staff did need to contact them and safe ways needed to be found.

The internet has many pros and cons, but some of the negatives of online activity and CYP can cause irreparable damage such as sexting and grooming. With this in mind many local authorities and organisations have increased their warnings and rules for online work and communication between staff and children. From this we have seen the recommendations to record or back up online work appear.

It is often the case that the perpetrator of such abuse is known to the child or in a position of responsibility to the child, so it is easy to see why such safeguarding measures may be implemented. However it is a new way of working for many therapists and it may not necessarily feel right for all.

If you find yourself in this position of needing to record or back up your work some things to consider are:

  • clear contracting with client and/or family
  • clear language around the ownership, storage and accessing of such recordings
  • updated GDPR policy

Working through the fine details and print with your organisation, IT team and manager is a must here. I would recommend we also talk to our supervisor about what this means for us ourselves.

2020 has been the year of unprecedented times, new norms and changing landscapes. Our blended way of working for many is one of the positives of this pandemic and various lockdowns, however it does continue to challenge us all and force us to upskill, stay knowledgeable and keep up to date with safeguarding and best practice.