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Updated May 3, 2021

The guidance below is intended to support OSU units with developing and implementing virtual programming for youth participants (under age 18). Recommendations are offered as best practices and should not be construed as official university policy. For current policies related to youth programming at Oregon State University, including Standards of Behavior for program personnel, visit See Online Safety Resources for a collection of links related to safe virtual programming for youth.

Guidance for Online Youth Programs

Adults who are responsible for delivering virtual content to youth audiences are expected to abide by the same Standards of Behavior that apply to all OSU youth programs.

These standards address the need to include a second adult in any direct electronic communications, secure parent consent prior to capturing or using any media containing minors, and limit 1-on-1 interactions. In addition to the guidelines for youth programs in general, the following recommendations should be considered when creating safe virtual experiences for youth:

  • Ensure that you have a current technology use agreement and electronic code of conduct for youth participants (see Templates below).
  • As a general rule, avoid recording or capturing the likeness of any minor participants. This is especially important to avoid if you are using a personal device or shared computer.
  • Secure parental consent forms, which specifically authorize youth participation in the virtual programming. Be sure to include specifics about supervision ratios (adults-to-youth), program design, content moderation and behavior expectations.
  • Parents or caregivers should be cc’d on all meeting invitations. Individual invitations or unmonitored messages should not be sent directly to youth attendees without including a parent recipient. This includes private chats or direct messaging within a software application.
  • Maintain online security by using technology that requires login via e-mail invitation, password protection, or other secure methods (see Technical Tips below). Avoid posting meeting links on public sites.
  • Monitor and prohibit sharing of personal contact information. This includes any personally-identifiable information, such as phone number, social media accounts, e-mail addresses, etc.
  • Plan a debrief at the end of each session to learn what worked and what can be improved.


See Templates below for sample virtual codes of conduct for program staff and youth participants.

In alignment with Children's Online Privacy Protection Act ("COPPA") regulations, parents should ultimately be in control over what information is collected from young children--particularly those under age 13--while online. Several popular social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, require that users be at least 13 years old in order to gain access to their services. Given the dynamic nature of the Internet, it is often difficult to determine which commercial websites and online services (including mobile apps) are directed at children. While the COPPA rule does not directly apply to OSU, it should inform our usage of certain platforms to deliver content to youth.

The chart below includes general guidance on appropriate usage and possible age restrictions of several popular 3rd party platforms. In many cases, while it may be acceptable to use tools like Facebook to promote your program or events to a general audience, it may not be appropriate to use the same service for delivery of programming to children and youth.

Note: this not intended to be an exhaustive list, and OSU does not endorse usage of any particular service for its youth programs.

    Adult Youth 13-18 Children <13
Type Platform Delivery Promotion Delivery Promotion Delivery Promotion
Social Media Facebook
Video Collaboration Zoom      
Google Hangouts      

There should be no issues using this platform

There may be some restrictions using this platform

Not appropriate for use with the identified audience

  • Zoom video conferencing is a free service made available to OSU personnel. 
  • Canvas is the learning management system (LMS) available to individuals with ONID credentials. For instructions on how to add non-OSU individuals to a Canvas Studio site, go here.
  • Bridge can be used to host online training or professional development for OSU employees (ONID login required).


See also Online Safety Resources below for non-OSU sponsored content.


To view the Privacy Notice for Oregon State University, go to

Zoom Meetings’ privacy policies can be found here: and

Zoom is utilized by K-12 schools and educational institutions to connect virtually with their students and is FERPA compliant. More information can be found here.


See Templates below for sample parental consent forms and waivers.


It is recommended that OSU youth programs utilize the more restrictive Webinar platform when using Zoom. Webinars are designed so that only the host and designated presenters are able to share video and audio. Webinar attendees join in listen-only mode, and participant lists are only visible to the host or presenter(s).

For information on how to request a Zoom Webinar license through OSU Information Services, visit

If the webinar service is not an option for your program, the following settings are recommended when using Zoom's standard Meetings service:

  • Disable “Join Before Host” to ensure your youth participants cannot join the meeting until the adult host and moderator are present.
  • Enable the Waiting Room feature, which prevents attendees from joining the meeting until you are ready, with adequate program staff in place.
  • Turn off (disable) participant recording. You can do this from the Host Dashboard.
  • Turn off (disable) screen sharing and file sharing by participants. You can do this from the Host Dashboard.
  • Disable participant-to-participant private chat using the “Everyone Publicly” setting.
  • If using the public chat feature, consider whether or not you will be saving a chat log. If so, logs should be saved to a university-owned computer or device and must follow OSU's General Records Retention guidelines.


For additional information about how to properly configure Zoom Meetings, please review OSU's Zoom Security Guide.

Take an online mini-course on how to deter "zoombombing" and unauthorized access in Zoom (Canvas login required)

See also the following recent (March 2020) security guidance published by Zoom:





The following online resources may be useful in planning and promoting safe virtual experiences for youth, but are not university-sponsored or endorsed:

Online Safety Resources

  • – safety, privacy and security for users of connected technology
  • Prevent Cyberbullying from - be aware of warning signs a child is being cyberbullied or is cyberbullying others


  • NetSmartz online safety education from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  • Protecting Kids Online from Federal Trade Commission - provides strategies to talk to kids about online safety and employ parental controls for supervision