Social Media & Contact Policy

We want to encourage healthy, appropriate, relationships with the children and adults we lead. This can at times involve contacting them outside of the main program and can include calling, talking online and meeting in person. While some conversations are private it is important that relationships are transparent.

Below is a list of recommendations for social contact beyond the structures of the regular program.

When meeting a person privately, you should:

  • meet in a public place
  • inform your co-leader of the meeting and when it is taking place
  • not invite or have individuals alone with you in your home
  • make a record of the meeting, location, duration and circumstances of any meeting where for any reason these guidelines were not followed and why.

When meeting a child or youth (anyone under the age of 18) privately, you should:

  • have parental or guardian consent
  • ensure that a parent, guardian or suitable adult (another team leader) is present;
  • inform another member of the Leadership Team, an adult church worker or another adult of the meeting, location and duration of the meeting;
  • not invite or have children to your home or visit children in their home when no other adult is present; and
  • make a record of the meeting, location, duration and circumstances of any meeting where for any reason these guidelines were not followed and why.

Online contact especially for Life Group Leaders & Ministry Team Coordinators

  • should be limited to logistical purposes or spiritual encouragements, but pastoral care matters should be dealt with in person. Too often tone, and misunderstandings can happen via written text mediums.
  • Email should be limited to logistical purposes and spiritual encouragements. All email should be sent with a BCC or CC to your co-leader’s email address for future reference if it becomes necessary. More significant conversations should be held in person.
  • Youth aged 13 – 17 are to only be contacted via social media in group message threads or group pages never privately messaged. Always include your co-leader to create a three person group text if messaging youth via a phone number.
  • No one under the age of 12 should be contacted via social media or phone text messaging, all contact must be through their parents.

Video Phoning (mobile Phone/internet)

Church workers should not enter into conversations of this nature with children/young people.

Photographs

Children, youth and leaders will often want to take photos as part of their life together however the use and storage of these images must be carefully considered.

  • An appointed leader should take photos of youth/children’s ministry activities. Photos should be saved to an appropriately private location as soon as practical and kept secure, e.g. private Kids Ministry google drive folder then deleted from the camera or phone.
  • Individual leaders should not be taking photos of children or youth during ministry activities with their own device. Any exception to this policy should be discussed with the ministry coordinator.
  • Do not photograph any child/young person who has asked not to be photographed or where parental consent has not been given.
  • Photos should focus on small groups rather than individuals:
    • Do not identify in writing the person/s in the photograph.
    • People must be appropriately dressed when photographed.
    • You need to ask permission from the primary subjects of the photo before posting the photo online. Ministry leaders need to monitor social media pages associated with the ministry to ensure photos and comments are appropriate
    • Never post photos/videos of children/young people on the internet without parental permission eg seek permission to post ministry related photos of children/youth on the church website or church social media page
    • Children/young people should only take photos of ministry leaders as part of a group

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