YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AND OUR RESPONSIBILITIES FOR ONLINE SERVICES:
Spectrum Gaming provides a moderated online environment for young autistic people to connect with each other. We recognise the positive impact that finding peers who understand you, and who you can be yourself around, has on emotional wellbeing. Therefore one of our primary goals is to support young people to be able to develop strong, real friendships in our community and to do so safely.
In order to keep young people in our community as safe as possible we feel it is important to provide you with a clear understanding of what our service offers and the support we can and cannot provide. We hope that by understanding the scope of our service, you can help ensure a positive experience for your young person while also maintaining their safety online.
WHAT WE ARE UNABLE TO OFFER SUPPORT WITH:
We are not responsible for monitoring or overseeing private conversations that occur between members outside our Discord and Minecraft servers. This includes Direct Messages and group chats on Discord. While we strive to create a safe environment, private messages fall outside our control, and staff members cannot see or moderate these. We encourage both parents and young people to exercise caution when engaging in private conversations both on Discord and on other online platforms outside of SG.
We ask that SG members are not added to any group chats with people outside of SG and that young people only have private messages and group chats with other members who they have developed a strong relationship within our server first. This is so that staff are able to provide support with the initial development of these friendships and the teething problems they can come with. It also means that if issues arise within group chats, we know the young people involved and are able to contact their parents if we need to.
If a young person is a member of our Under 13 Community, then parents/ carers must take full responsibility for ensuring that these guidelines are followed and that private messages and group chats are monitored in order to keep young people safe.
Our responsibility is limited to the activities and interactions that take place within the Spectrum Gaming Discord and Minecraft servers. We cannot oversee or control any events or actions that occur outside our platform. It is essential for parents to maintain awareness of their children's online activities beyond SG.
While our staff team monitor the messages sent in our servers, it is not possible for us to provide continuous 24/7 supervision of these spaces. This can sometimes mean that an issue may arise when staff are not present, or available to resolve it straight away. In these cases young people are able to make a Support Ticket to let staff know about a problem and staff will respond when they are able to. If you would like to report something as a parent, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read more about this here: What happens if there is an issue?
As continuous supervision is not possible, this does also mean that if your young person requires 1:1 support in order to navigate the community, that we are unable to offer that ourselves, and ask that you supervise their access.
It's crucial to note that our service does not provide assistance or support for individuals in mental health crisis. If a young person is experiencing a crisis or facing urgent mental health concerns, we highly recommend seeking professional help or contacting the appropriate helpline or emergency services.
While our staff team cares about the wellbeing of our members, and will always support young people when we can, we are not mental health professionals and we do not have the capacity to be available to regularly support individual young people who are struggling. If a young person does reach out to us when they are struggling we will signpost to relevant services who may be able to help instead. The welfare of our young people is always a top priority, and if we can see them continuing to struggle we may have to make a referral to other services under safeguarding law. We will (in almost all cases) have been engaging with and speaking to parents first.
WHAT WE CAN OFFER SUPPORT WITH:
Supporting Friendships and Connections:
Through our Discord and Minecraft servers we provide a space where members can connect with others and develop friendships through shared interests. Autistic young people often struggle to navigate and maintain friendships and staff members are able to guide and support them in resolving fallouts, handling misunderstandings and rebuilding connections after disagreements. We can't guarantee that your young person will find friendship or connection with others, but will do our best to foster an environment where they have the best chance of success. It is also important to recognise that building meaningful relationships with others is a process that takes time, effort and patience.
Assistance with Discord and Minecraft Servers:
We offer technical guidance and support to help young people understand how to effectively use both our Discord and Minecraft servers so that they can make the most of these platforms and are able to make friends and attend events that we organise.
Participation in Events:
In partnership with young people, we plan and deliver events which are designed to foster social interaction and a sense of community as well as provide positive experiences for members. Staff members are able to support young people to access events, whether that be ensuring that communication differences are accommodated for, or by providing emotional support for those struggling with anxiety.
WHAT WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT WITH:
Helping Your Young Person Understand our Community Rules:
Young people are better able to follow our community rules if they have discussed them with an adult to ensure they understand them and can see the reasons why they exist. You can view the rules for our Discord and Minecraft servers on our website here, and these links are also emailed out to you when we welcome you to the community:
The rules are also displayed within our Discord Servers, so that young people can easily refer back to them at any time.
Parents/carers are also responsible for ensuring your young person understands our Online Safety Agreement and is able to follow it either independently or with parental support/supervision.
Supervising Your Young Person:
Some young people may require more 1:1 support and supervision in order to engage positively with our online community. Unfortunately as we are unable to offer continuous 1:1 supervision of individual young people, you may need to supervise their access to our community.
In addition to this, if you are a parent of a member of our Under 13 Community, you are required to be logged into the same account they use to access our server, and MUST supervise and monitor their private messages and group chats. You can read more about how to do this in our Getting Started Guide.
Working Together with Staff:
Staff members may need to reach out to you so we can work together if there is something your young person is struggling with and we have not been able to successfully problem solve with the young person themselves. We may also need to contact you if we are concerned about their safety and wellbeing.
When we work together with young people to resolve issues we use something called The NEST Approach, which you can read more about [here]. It can be really helpful if parents understand the process too and can support us and your young person in problem solving things together.
Another important thing to consider is that the majority of our staff team are autistic themselves and sometimes communication and capacity can be difficult. This means that although we always try very hard to communicate clearly and considerately, there are likely to be times when things are miscommunicated or misunderstood. It also means that while we aim to respond to things in a timely manner, there may also be times when we do not have capacity to, or we may be able to read and process a message, but not respond immediately.
We believe that fostering strong communication and with parents helps to ensure the best possible experience for our members. Please do feel welcome to get in touch if your young person needs any support or is experiencing any difficulties. By working together, we can create a safe and supportive environment where your young person can thrive. We value your involvement in creating a positive online community for autistic young people.