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Talking About Internet Safety is Family Ministry

a Black parent sits in front of a laptop with his two children

As a religious educator, a minister, or a lay leader, here’s some vital family ministry you can support in simple short ways.

Nearly all of our families have children and teens spending more time online than they did a year agoincluding in our programs. Mostly, this is serving a vital role in keeping our children and teens connected to the people they care about.

And your UUA staff have fielded questions related to UU children and teens involved in bullying, experiencing some “weird” or “uncomfortable” adult interactions, and parents surprised by their young child finding sexually explicit material on youtube.

Like sexuality education, talking about internet safety is faith formation. The goal isn’t to swaddle our children and teens to protect them. The goal is to give them the tools they need to navigate the world. For each family the timeline of how much freedom to give is going to be a little different. Here are some simple ways to support your families:

Be Explicit About Safety for Your Programs

The families in your program including the children and youth should know the safety standards you’re holding your adult volunteers to. They should know that the adults from their congregation shouldn’t message them privately one to one and that this is modeling what the congregation believes is safe adult behavior.

Support Adults in Conversations With Their Children

Remind them: One of the ways a faith community can be helpful is in reminding and supporting parents and guardians in having conversations with children and teens. Our post for all ages and focusing on teens give many conversations parents and caregivers should have with their children and teens. You are welcome to take a section at a time and include it in your emails to families. 

Host some conversations: If the parents and caregivers in your congregation are gathering in small groups or want to gather in small groups the Parents as Sexuality Educators small group ministry curriculum is one we recommend using right now! The sessions on pornography and social media use may be particularly relevant. 

Resources

About the Author

Evin Carvill Ziemer

Evin serves the Central East Region in the areas of Youth Ministry, Young Adult Ministry, and Intercultural Competency work and as Primary Contact for congregations in upstate and central New York. Evin holds a Masters of Divinity from Earlham School of Religion and Bachelor of Arts from Carleton...

For more information contact conglife@uua.org.