Online Community Guidelines

These guidelines help all single parents to be safe and supported when using Gingerbread’s online forum, digital groups and social media.

When you use these services, you agree to follow these guidelines. We moderate our online community and may provide users with guidance or take other action if we feel the guidelines have not been followed.

Our guidelines

Online community members will

  • Be kind to each other. Many people using Gingerbread’s online services are going through a difficult time and a few kind words can go a long way.
  • Welcome new people and be especially nice to them.
  • Be sensitive to the feelings and opinions of others – everyone’s experience is unique and, while you might not always agree, you can disagree in a respectful manner.
  • Consider what you’re going to say and how it may impact others.
  • Be aware that all contributions are made by single parents and are drawn from their own lived experiences.
  • Share your personal experiences – which can give others hope, as well as ideas and tips to try out.
  • Consider responding to posts or comments from users who need support and haven’t yet received a reply.
  • Use private messages appropriately and respect other people’s boundaries. If you are going to share personal information or arrange to meet, please  ‘staying safe online’ in this guide.
  • Report any concerns if you feel someone, whether a child or adult, at risk of significant harm.
  • Report any concerns, including posts or comments (public or private) which make you uncomfortable or appear suspicious. Do not raise your concerns on the feed.
  • If you need professional advice and guidance, please contact our helpline or webchat.

Online service users won’t

  • Give instructive advice – users can get professional advice from our helpline or webchat.
  • Use behaviour and language that’s disruptive or offensive or excludes other users.
  • Post anything is discriminatory, for example, anything is racist, homophobic, sexist, transphobic, personally abusive or dismissive about people’s experiences.
  • Include personal details on the feed. (These are allowed in private messaging). See ‘staying safe online’ in this guide.
  • Share or copy other users’ content from the forum or digital groups with others, or on other platforms, unless you have their permission.
  • Post media requests, research requests or petitions or campaigns, without permission from Gingerbread.
  • Post links to websites on the forum without agreement from Gingerbread. You may post links on social media and digital groups without permission but please be aware we may delete these if we feel they do not match our values, follow our guidelines or provide the best advice available.
  • Promote commercial ventures including ads for accommodation, products, services or activities where there is a cost or a fee.
  • Spam or troll.

Staying safe online

Most people using the Gingerbread forum, digital groups and social media are sincere and honest but there are exceptions. Be aware of how to protect your privacy and keep yourself and others safe online:

Stop communicating with anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable and report them to Gingerbread. See ‘Report a concern’ in this guide.

Be careful what information you share

The forum is an anonymous space. Don’t share any information that may identify you or others, or make you or others vulnerable. This includes your name, contact details, children’s details or images, confidential or legal information.

When using our digital groups or social media, you may choose to share your name, but be careful not to share any information that may make you or others vulnerable.

You may share personal information in private messaging, but please follow the guidance below.

Do not respond to money requests or offers of free help

There is a risk that there may be may be predators on our online services, just like any online space. Don’t be drawn in by pleas for help which may not be . There’s no reason for you to provide someone with your bank account details or lend money. If a forum user asks for money or your bank account details stop all contact and report it to Gingerbread. Also, don’t fall for offers of help such as when someone is offering free legal advice or representation.

Get to know people and take your time

Please don’t get a false sense of security because you’re using our online services.There’s a limit to our ability to verify the information that forum users provide and some users may not have good intentions and may not be who they say they are. Be wary if someone seems vague in their communication about their interests and children or may often repeat things or seem disconnected.

Do your research to learn more about a person before you decide to provide your contact details or meet up. Do a web search and review other information about the person online – do they have a Facebook or LinkedIn profile – does it look genuine?

Meeting up offline safely

Act with caution and learn more about someone before contacting or meeting them outside of the online community. Don’t feel obliged to meet up with anyone. If you’ve met someone in our online community and plan to meet up, remember this person is still a stranger to you and your children. Please take precautions such as meeting in a public place and maybe taking a friend with you or telling friends or family where you are going and how long you plan to be out. Don’t feel pressured to share personal information or to do something or go somewhere you’re not comfortable with and avoid going to someone’s home, inviting them to yours, or accepting or giving a lift the first time you meet them.

If you have an abuser or stalker

Womens Aid give further information about staying safe online in their guide for people who are being stalked or abused online. This information is also suitable for men experiencing abuse.

Other guidance

The Get Safe Online website gives lots of advice on using social networking sites like ours safely.

How we moderate

We moderate our online services during office hours, Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm. We do not moderate on bank holidays.

Our moderators:

  • make sure everyone complies with the user guidelines
  • look out for anyone who’s at risk of significant harm (adult or child)
  • support conversations and signpost users to information or support if necessary

Moderators will:

  • Try to be fair. Sometimes we edit, hide or remove posts or comments that appear to break the guidelines or leave users feeling unsafe.  This doesn’t happen often and in most situations we’ll  explain why we’ve removed something and give you feedback to help you post safely.
  • Temporarily suspend, block or remove a user’s account if behaviour and/or comments are not in line with the user guidelines. This is at our own discretion.
  • Try to ensure that private messages remain private. On the forum and digital groups, these will be viewed by moderators if there are concerns about an individual or if a report has been made.
  • Take any safeguarding concern seriously and operate within our Safeguarding Policy framework. We may contact emergency services if you tell us that you or someone else are unsafe and you give us sufficient details to identify and locate you.
  • Respond to posts that don’t explicitly break the guidelines but are extreme in nature and  may cause distress to others. We will follow our safeguarding policy and offer support through private messages. In some cases, we may edit or remove posts or block accounts.
  • May respond to users if they haven’t received a response from others.
  • Remove spam or scam posts and messages as soon as possible.
  • Do our best to resolve any technical problems as quickly as possible.

Moderators won’t:

  • Muscle in your conversation. Our online community is for single parents to chat to each other. We might post a response if a signpost to support is needed and this hasn’t been shared by other users.
  • Give advice – users can make use of our advice and support services instead.
  • Respond to any friend requests.
  • Pass on your details or use your information for anything else unless we have your permission. The only time we may breach this is if believe there is a safeguarding concern, where you or others may be at risk of significant harm. In this case, we reserve the right to contact relevant authorities, and in most circumstances, you will be informed that this is happening.

Report a concern or contact us

If you’re concerned about a post or worried about someone, please report to us as soon as possible. We deal with reports during office hours as quickly as we can.  We’ll assess whether something has broken the rules or is a safeguarding concern. We will acknowledge your report. This could take up to 5 working days

Online forum

To report a post, use the report button at the top of the post. To report a private message, press on the user’s profile icon and then press the report button in their profile.

Digital groups

To report a post, press the three dots at the corner of the post, then press ‘more’. To report other concerns, please email us.

Social media

Please private message us through the social media platform.

 

For help using our online services, or to delete your forum or digital group account, please email us.

Terms and conditions- online community

When using Gingerbread’s online forum, digital groups and social media, I understand:

  • All users are aware the forum, digital groups and social media are available on public view. All content and comments made are at your own risk.
  • Gingerbread reserve the right to remove, modify or replace content at its own discretion.
  • Gingerbread is not responsible for what users post.
  • All users have read, understood and agree to the online community guidelines.
  • Gingerbread reserves the right to block users who breach the online community guidelines.
  • All users and Gingerbread will keep their forum and digital groups user passwords secure.
  • All users accept Gingerbread’s privacy policy.
  • All users have access to Gingerbread’s complaints procedure.
  • All users confirm they are 16 years of age or older.

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