Safety precautions need to be taken to protect youth in virtual and physical spaces alike. Just as we advise adults not to be alone with youth in physical spaces, the same applies online. We are always wanting another set of eyes, a record of our online communications, and permissions from parents about how we may communicate with their youth (given the ever growing number of platforms).
- Set a community standard that unrelated adults do not message children on youth 1 on 1 on any platform. Just as an adult should never be alone with a child or youth in person.
- Developing and maintaining a written policy on the use of church computers/other technology and social media for clergy, staff, volunteers, etc. Such policy should address such issues as staff and volunteer interaction with minors as well as tagging, posting, and friending policies.
- Having a shared understanding that the use of technology in faith-based organizations should be public (meaning visible by more than one adult), observable, and monitored by church staff.
- Creating an expectation that any communication that happens outside the guidelines is reported to the responsible volunteers, staff, and/or minister.
Sample Communications Guidelines
- Metropolitan Community Churches: Social Media Policy and Guidelines 2015 (PDF)
- Central East Region of the UUA: Electronic Communication Expectations
Next Recommended Practice: Code of Ethics for Adults